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Preliminary — How I became a nurse — Workhouse Infirmaries — 
Infirmary Nursing Association — Cardiff Union Hospital — 
Sad state of things — Reforms — Dr. Sheen — Night nursing 
begun — House surgeon — Health gives way — Typhoid at 
Johannesburg — English nurses going out — I join them — 
Sister Lucy Sleeman — From Natal to Johannesburg — Life in 
the "Golden City" — Impecuniosity — Life in the Home — A 
ball — Visit to a gold-mine — We leave for Kimberley — The 
coach — A drunken neighbour — Kimberley — The hospital — 
The diamond mines — De Beers compound — Precautions 
against diamond stealing — Night duty — We propose returning 
to England ..... Page I 


Leave Kimberley — Hear of Bishop Knight Bruce — Offer to go to 
Mashonaland — Tickets to England — Miss the train — A day 
outside Kimberley — Bishop's telegram — Off to Cape Town — 
Meet Bishop — Settle to join Mission — Leave the Roslyn Castle 
— Mr. Maund — Decide to go vid Piingwe — Plans changed — 
Stop at Durban — Canon Booth — Indian Mission — Bishop off 
to Maritzburg — Lodging hunting — Durban and its inhabitants 
— Visit to house of Jamieson — Mosquitoes — Kaffir huts — 
Indian service — Bishop returns — Leaves for Beira without us 


— "Major" Johnson — Dr. Doyle Glanville — Off at last — 
Fellow-passengers — Inhambane — The Queen's health — Beira 
— Fighting up country — Battle of Chua — H.M.S. Magicienne 
— Johnson again — Captain Ewing to the rescue — Off to 
Mozambique — Mr. Grant's natives — Quilimane — Curios — 
Beira again ..... Page 25 


On the Pflngwe — Sixteen hours in the Shark — Hippopotami — 
Crocodiles — Intense heat — 'Mpanda's — Nowhere to sleep — 
Lions — Old Wilkins — Dr. Todd of the Magicienne — Fever — 
Work among the natives — Camp life — The Consul — A plague 
of rats — Arrival of Dr. Glanville — News from the Bishop — 
Disputes among Mission workers — Livingstonian anecdote — 
Sir John Willoughby and monkey-nuts — Collapse of transport 
— We must walk one hundred and ninety miles — Opposition 
— The enemy routed — The Portuguese commandante — A 
Portuguese military hospital — Departure of Consul — Wilkins 
in search of bearers — His dramatic return — No money — Lieut. 
Robertson to the rescue .... 83 


The start — A "dug-out" — Missing load — A kraal — Native funeral 
— On the road — Another kraal — Lions — A Portuguese break- 
fast — No water — Captain Winslow — We meet two white men 
— Honey-birds — Lions again — Sarmento — A native hunt — 
Trouble with carriers — Forced march — Masse-Kesse — We 
lose our way — Illness of Sister Aimee — At last Umtali — The 
Bishop . . . . . . 119 


Sabi Ophir — Illness of Dr. Glanville — Dr. Lichfield — Lieutenant 


Eustace Fiennes — No boots — High prices — Maquaniqua the 
queen — Arrival of Mr. Sutton — Holy Communion — Captain 
Heany — Sad death of Dr. Glanville — Site of the Mission 
farm — Appearance of Colonel Pennefather . Page 146 


Settling down at Sabi Ophir — Difficulties of cooking — No luggage 
— Gold panning — Mr. Sutton leaves the Bishop — Description 
of our huts — Visit from a hyaena — Arrival of Mrs. Tulloch 
and children — The question of food — Flowers — Mr. Selous 
visits Umtali — Mr. Teal devoured by a lion — The native 
labour question — Evils of drink — Our boxes are rifled by the 
natives — Our first patient — The Administrator arrives at 
Umtali — Hospital hut opened — Bishop leaves for England — 
Horrors of night duty — Arrival of Mr. Rhodes — Site of camp 
moved — The rains begin — Mr. and Mrs. Bent . 165 


Leaving Old for New Umtali — Our Malay boy Jonosso — "Your 
Excellency's plate" — Rain — Waiting for the waggon — An 
accident — Water-tight huts — Furnishing the hospital — Sister 
Lucy as carpenter — The white prisoner — His thumbs tied — 
Algernon Caulfield makes an arm-chair — Illness and departure 
of Eustace Fiennes — Sister B. Welby and Dr. Lichfield — 
Arrival of our clergyman — His strange attire — His disputes 
with the Mission workers — He " chucks his orders " — Advent 
of a professional baker — Sister Lucy's cake — Its effect on 
Col. Pennefather — Wedding cake — The first marriage in 
Manica — Keeping Christmas — The police deputation — The 
cow — Sports — Magistrate and Civil Commissioner "on the 
burst" — All the police arrest each other — The last man — 
General amnesty — The Colonel again — "Order of the Sack" 
— Good-byes . . . . 198 



The hospital — Patients — Work — Contrivances — Project of brick 
hospital — Poultry yard — Capricious hens — Mashona cows — 
The bread question — Our baker— Attempts to bake himself — 
A breadless community — Montague Bowden — His last game 
of cricket — His illness and death — Scaring off wild beasts — 
The funeral — Our dispenser "on the burst" — Opium poison- 
ing — Dispenser attempts suicide — Imprisoned — Our protest — 
Dispenser dismissed — Illness of Sister Lucy — Flight of natives 
— A terrible week — Drink — An extraordinary bill — Departure 
of magistrate — The reign of Law in Manica — Birth of first 
English child in Mashonaland — Serious illness of Mrs. Tulloch 
— Our huts burnt to the ground — Narrow escape of Mrs. 
Tulloch — A tipsy fire brigade — Generosity — Arrival of Dr. 
Matthew Johnston — Our patient saved — Christening of Cecil 
Rhodes Tulloch — He leaves the hospital in triumph 

Page 216 


A free day — A visit to Chiconga — Climbing a kopje — The kraal — 
Gungunyama's raids — The council hut — The chieftainess and 

her "warriors" — Her answer to the Bishop — We trade 

Fashion amongst natives — A blind Lovelace — Instance of 
ferocity — Kissing — Intelligent children — Absence of religious 

notions — Differences of language — Ancient gold workings 

Worship of Isis — Mosaic Law — Small-pox — Inoculation 

Native vanity — Inferior iron-work — Carved snuff-boxes Fire- 
sticks — Principal food — Produce — Curious calabashes — Dis- 
gusting reports — Chiconga's return visit— A chief's assegai 
— A demand for fire-water — A Woman's Rights argument 
— The royal baby — An endless visit — Jonosso to the rescue 
— The Queen retires .... 239 



A tale of horror — " Smelling out witches " — Maronka — His prisoner 
— An expedition to rescue him — The encampment — Lions — 
Native carried off — Half devoured — Horses attacked — Night 
of terror — A plucky terrier — The dead lioness — Maronka 
submits — Mr. Carden — Home again — Another lion story — 
Vogler — Besieged by lions — A terrible situation — No water — 
Rescued — Too late — Vogler's death — More lions — Siege of 
Umtali — Warlike funeral — Night alarm — A reign of terror — 
Township attacked — Tracked to his lair — The dead monarch 
— Lying in state — At peace once more . . Page 257 


A luxury — Mr. Seymour-Fort — An eccentric drive — A luncheon 
party — China versus tin — 111 - behaved guests — Moonlight — 
Our carriage and pair — "Pills and Powders" — Their friend- 
ship with our monkey — Warned of a snake — An execution — 
Dr. Johnston departs — No doctor — A patient from Masse- 
Kesse — Clark and Paget — Amusing notes — The doctor at 
last — A cause celebre — Troublesome results — What's in a 
name ? — Gold finds — The gold fever — Wonderful reefs — The 
Queen of Sheba's kingdom . . . 279 


The hospital empty at last — An expedition proposed — We trek 
to the Odzani — A picnic — Our camp by the " Slippery Drift " 
— The march to M'Tassa's kraal — A wearisome delay — The 
King appears — A noisy palaver — Offering a present — Kaffir 
beer — The King is photographed — Bushman drawings — Re- 
turn home — Cattle stealing — A warlike expedition — The 
" Artillery " borrow our donkey harness — An awful old woman 


Return of the expedition — News of the Bishop's return — 
Nurses to relieve us — The Beira Railway — The Jesuit Mission 
— Splendid organisation .... Page 294 


Illness — Visit from a leopard — Tedious convalescence — Again with- 
out a doctor — Arrival of the Bishop — New nurses on the way 
— Their arrival at Umtali — A split in the camp — A touch- 
ing deputation — Farewell to Umtali — Fever en route — In the 
train — Fontesvilla — Arrival at Beira — A transformation — 
Lieutenant Hussey- Walsh — Hospitality — The Consul's ball 



We leave Beira — On board the German steamer Kaiser — Dar-es- 
Salaam — Evangelical Mission — Mission hospital — Emin 
Pasha's daughter, Ferida — A madman on board — His strange 
diet — "We can't lock up an Englishman!" — His death — 
Zanzibar — The English Mission — Splendid organisation — The 
hospital — On board H.M.S. Raleigh — Bishop Smythies — 
Aden — The Red Sea — Untimely sausages — Mr. Wolf, the 
German explorer — Port Said — Europe at last . 327 



Preliminary — How I became a nurse — Workhouse Infirm- 
aries — Infirmary Nursing Association — Cardiff Union 
Hospital — Sad state of things — Reforms — Dr. Sheen 
— Night nursing begun — House surgeon — Health 
gives way — Typhoid at Johannesburg — English 
nurses going out — I. join them — Sister Lucy Sleeman 
— From Natal to Johannesburg — Life in the " Golden 
City" — Impecuniosity — Life in the Home — A ball — 
Visit to a gold-mine — We leave for Kimberley — The 
coach — A drunken neighbour — Kimberley — The 
hospital — The diamond mines — De Beers compound 
— Precautions against diamond stealing — Night duty 
— We propose returning to England. 

The unexpected always happens, and no- 
thing happens but the unexpected ! 

If anyone had told me, ten years before- 
hand, that the year 1890 would find me a 
nurse, tending the sick in the heart of Africa, 
I should have laughed the predictor to 
scorn. Of all unlikely fates that might befall 



one, that seemed the most improbable. And 
a very trivial incident decided the event. 

In a village near which I often stayed 
was an old man suffering from cancer. I 
used to go and see him. On the occasion of 
one of these visits I met the doctor, and 
asked if the old fellow would not be better 
cared for in the Workhouse Infirmary? 
Thereupon the doctor enlightened me as to 
the condition of the neighbouring Union 
Infirmary, pouring forth a sad tale of untrained 
nursing, bad food, neglect, and sometimes 
ill-treatment. He had done what he could ; 
had represented matters to the guardians, and 
had written to the Government Inspector, but 
all to no purpose. The infirmary cost little, 
and economy was the first consideration. 
Humanity came a long way after. 

Just then a report of the " Workhouse 
Infirmary Association" fell into my hands. 
This Association aimed at supplying Union 
Infirmaries with trained nurses. Its report 
echoed the doctor's tale of neglect. 

In a very few days my resolution was 


taken. I would be a nurse, and work for 
the Association, and when I had once made 
up my mind it did not take long to carry my 
resolution into effect. 

After a medical and surgical training, I 
went through a course of midwifery, a know- 
ledge of which is essential in workhouse 
nursing, and, when I had obtained the London 
Obstetrical Society's diploma, I applied to 
the Association, stating that I wished to work 
in a country workhouse. A few weeks later 
I went as superintendent nurse to the Cardiff 
Union Hospital. 

It is not my intention to write here about 
workhouse infirmaries. I will briefly state 
that the Cardiff guardians were exceptionally 
humane, and even liberal ; and that the 
" master " was enlightened and interested in 
the hospital. Yet the arrangements for 
nursing the sick were incredibly bad. I had 
charge of between three and four hundred 
beds. My nurses were untrained ; there 
were no night-nurses. Typhoids, covered 
with bed sores, were left at night to the care of 

,//»// A/7 A7-.V 

an old \\ t nan from the "house." Pneumonia 

cases, and unfortunates in the lasl slaves ol" 
phthisis, had to look all< i themseh e-, I'he 
fust time I wcni round with the doctor, lie 

said, "Begin with die children's ward, it 

smells like the den ol a wild beast !" Yet 

Dr. Sheen had already improved the place 

ver\ uui. h ind< . d, 

The moment I, as a trained nurse, caused 
ih. ,,,;■< ni want ol a nkdit nurse to he laid 
before the Hoard, the) supplied the deficient \. 
Dun. uiu J attendants, howevei praiseworthy, 
i annot w< II jud^e ol wh.u p. .» real want, 
.ind wh.u ran he done without. Kven il 
then |iiJ : :iii< nl is y^nu] it , allies no weight. 

teen months later Cardiil I lospital had 
a -a. ill ol n. micd nurses. The eaiardiaus had 
i. solved to appoint a resident house surgeon. 

The sick were well cared for. Dr, Sheen 

would lone, before have carried out these 
i. forms, il he had had an\ ti. lined nurses to 
work wnh him. I count him anions; ni\ best 
h i. mis. 

About this time inv health be^an to break 

•v m ts-:\\\ t: ix:> 

down, ami 1 was ailvisoil to try a imam;o ol 
work. I harm*; that aw qmlomir o! typhoiil 
was ravajMm; Johannesburg, aiul that several 

11 lined nurses were going out to establish a 
Nurses* Home there, I resolved to join 

them. Four of these ladies loft in January 

iSoo 1 iml our uu'ir wvic to start in the 


March, therefore, saw me hurrying to 
Lisbon vid Paris. I was a bad sailor, and 

wished to avoivl the terrible bay. 

Rain and storm pursued me, however, 
and on one of the wildest days that yet 

permitted a boat to loavo tho shore. I 

embarked for Africa on the Union S.S. 
Spartan, The other nurse had sailed from 

Southampton, ami wo met on Kuril. I ler 

name was Lucy Sleeman. We have been 
together ever since, and have lived through 

main strange experiences. 

Alter a\\ uneventful voyage wo lamloil at 

Durban, Natal, of which we saw nothing, 
having to hasten on to our destination. In 
those days the journey could only be accom- 


plished by a twelve hours' railway journey, 
and about sixty hours in a coach. The 
drive from Ladysmith, where the railway 
ended, to the border of the Orange Free 
State was lovely. The road wound up 
through lofty mountain ranges, and the air 
was deliciously pure and fresh. Then 
followed a long monotonous journey across 
the Free State, mile after mile of the same 
burnt-up veldt. We nurses rejoiced indeed 
when the roofs of the " Golden City " 
glittered in the afternoon sun. They were 
not golden roofs — far from it ! Some were 
made of corrugated iron, some of biscuit 
cins. But the effect was good, and the 
sight welcome. It all meant a bath and a 
bed, two luxuries from which we had been 
severed since we left Natal. 

A pretty little nurse in a neat grey cloak 
and bonnet met us at the coach office. She 
looked fagged, and told us she had just 
recovered from typhoid. We found after- 
wards that an undue share of nursing had 
fallen to her lot. She slaved like a little 


heroine amongst the typhoids, and the good 
order which reigned in the little Home 
Hospital was almost solely due to her exer- 
tions. Her name was Sister Janet Hickman. 

The Home itself was far from a desirable 
place. Sister Lucy Sleeman soon went out 
to a case. For five weeks she nursed a 
typhoid, in a four -roomed house in which 
nine people lived ! The men of the house 
used to return home about five p.m., and 
generally went straight to bed. For a long 
time Sister Lucy could not understand the 
reason of this unusual arrangement, but 
finally discovered that they were almost 
always tipsy. In those days the Johannes- 
burgher was usually tipsy towards evening. 
The "boom" was over, business was at a 
standstill. Thousands of people were utterly 
ruined, and many men drank to drown care. 
Very few then believed that Johannesburg 
would ever again recover itself, but it is now 
as flourishing as in the best days of the 
famous "boom." 

And what an amazing place it is ! In less 


than two years a large city sprang up on the 
bare veldt. True, some of the houses were 
eccentric. When we were there in 1890 
there were still houses built solely of biscuit 
tins, with Huntley and Palmer's labels cling- 
ing here and there. But there was also a 
stately street of stone buildings, as well as a 
fine Exchange. The suburb of Dornfontein, 
with its well-built houses and villas, had 
already united itself to the town. There 
were hotels, clubs, public ballrooms, and 
concert rooms. And, best of all, there was 
a theatre, where the " gods " made the best 
part of the entertainment with their amusing 
comments on audience and stage — comments 
which were delivered in the most unabashed 
tones, and, as a rule, were taken good- 

The Johannesburgher is passionately fond 
of dancing, so the penniless condition of our 
Home was naturally considered a good 
excuse for getting up a charity ball. 

Over three hundred people went, and a 
special request was made that the nurses 


should be represented. Several of them 
therefore attended. They described the 
proceedings as eccentric, to say the least. 
Nearly all the men, who were of course in a 
large majority, were very tipsy by ten o'clock. 
Revolving couples cannonaded each other, 
tumbled down, and could not get up again. 
A Church of England clergyman played the 
fiddle in the orchestra. He was attired in 
the usual swallow-tail ; and wore tight black 
knee breeches, silk stockings, shoes and 
buckles. The next day his ungrateful flock 
commented in the papers on the thinness of 
his legs. 

It was indeed a new and strange world — 
not such a bad one, however. Whatever 
may be their faults, the Johannesburghers 
possess two fine virtues in an unusual degree. 
Enterprise and rare generosity distinguish 
them from other South African communities. 
Notwithstanding the general distress they 
gave lavishly to our Home, but could not 
save it from bankruptcy. 

Our servants, who were only black boys, 


were always running away ; often there was 
only one boy to do all the work of both 
houses. So the sisters and nurses had to 
do their own cleaning and sweeping in the 
Home ; whilst two of us were in the other 
house — one cleaning grates, lighting fires, 
and so on ; the other in the kitchen, washing 
potatoes, and generally tidying up. We en- 
deavoured to make our Kaffir boy, Cornelius 
Agrippa, clean saucepans. But in a very 
short time he flung his saucepan down, disap- 
peared into a sort of packing-case house in 
the garden, and refused to move for at least 
half an hour. It was amusing cooking our 
own dinners, some of us being fairly good 
cooks. In the middle of our dinner the 
butcher's boy would arrive ; he came for his 
" little cheque." We told him, as usual, that 
we had no money. This happened regularly 
every day. He always returned looking 
quite hopeful. We used to tell him he 
would be paid in the " week of the four 
Thursdays." This speech caused him great 
amusement, but did not damp his ardour. 


The Home really was in a dreadful state. 
We had hoped to make it a nursing centre, 
and eventually have a large hospital, but 
it was crippled by a large debt. When 
we arrived in Johannesburg we found 
only ^5 in the bank. Without money 
it was only just possible to scramble along 
as best one could, looking after the few 
young fellows who were admitted to the 
Home. We could take in eleven. These 
boys — they were little more — were supposed 
to pay fifteen shillings a day ; stimulants, 
doctor's fees, and drugs extra. Of course 
very few were ever in a position to pay. 
Instead, they used to supply the Home with 
boxes of chocolate creams. This, though 
pleasant, was hardly practical. 

Apropos of drugs, we sometimes wondered 
whether the medical men were in partnership 
with the chemists. One never saw anything 
to compare with the patients' prescription 
boards. They were really curiosities of litera- 
ture ! It was astonishing that any enteric 
case, swallowing such a quantity of horrible 


stuff, and changing his medicines nearly 
every day, should have survived. Yet some 
of them did recover in spite of the treatment. 
About twenty per cent died. Of course there 
were exceptions. Several distinguished 
doctors were in practice at Johannesburg, 
but in those days were in a small minority. 

Sister Lucy, myself, and two other English 
nurses, moved heaven and earth to escape 
from the place. This was not so easy. 
Distances are enormous in Africa, and the 
smallest move is very costly. At last, after 
much correspondence, the doors of Kimberley 
Hospital were opened to us, and we prepared 
to leave Johannesburg after a sojourn of less 
than six months. 

Before leaving we drove out to the 
cemetery, where the husband of a friend of 
ours lay buried. She was in England, and 
had begged me to take a few flowers to his 
grave. What a sad, sad sight it was ! There, 
within a small space, their graves simply 
numbered, lay hundreds of young English- 
men and a number of young women. I 


think that not more than two or three of 
them were past forty when they died. By 
far the larger number were between twenty 
and twenty-eight. It was most affecting, 
too, to see long, long rows of tiny graves, 
suggestive of such heart-breaking sorrow. 
The mortality amongst women and children 
had been terrible. " When I came up here," 
said a doctor to me, "the women were 
literally dying like rotten sheep. One never 
expected to get a confinement safely over." 
I think we were all glad to turn our backs 
on that cemetery, feeling grateful surprise 
that none of our number were to be left 
behind there. 

An interesting visit to a gold-mine occu- 
pied our last day in Johannesburg. The 
"Robinson mine" was then the most flourish- 
ing on the Rand. It was lighted by electric 
light, and its battery was one of the sights 
of the town. As we alighted from our Cape 
cart at the door of the manager's house, he 
courteously welcomed us, and took us to the 
shaft, down which we were to descend. It 


looked rather alarming, the darkness was so 
intense. Where was the electric light? 
Certainly nowhere at hand. The darkness 
of the shaft looked actually solid. Muster- 
ing up courage, we got into a sort of iron 
cage with open sides, and, clinging to each 
other, were let down into the abyss. After 
descending for a few seconds one feels as if 
one was going up again. Then one seems 
to stand still. This is a dreadful sensation. 
One imagines the cage toNbe really stationary, 
and that it will be impossible ever to ascend 
again. Happily these fancies do not last 
long. We soon found ourselves at the 
bottom of the shaft, and stood in a long sub- 
terranean passage or gallery, along which a 
small tramway ran. In the dim distance a 
tiny lamp gleamed. This was the electric 
light. It might have been a night light. 

Where was the gold ? We saw nothing 
but mud and rock. Greatly to our dis- 
appointment we were informed that no gold 
could be seen. The trucks which natives 
pushed along the tram-lines were full of 


quartz. This dirty - looking rubbish was 
worth immense sums. We wandered through 
many of these galleries, and at last, not a 
little wet and muddy, returned to the light 
of day. 

We now proceeded to the battery, a 
wonderful place. 

In an enormous shed rose, one above the 
other, a succession of platforms. On the top- 
most platform a long line of steam hammers 
rose and fell with rhythmical swing and 
crash. Night and day they crushed the 
quartz, which, arriving incessantly in trucks, 
was precipitated into the machines. By-and- 
by it poured forth from them in a stream of 
finest powder. This stream was directed on 
to huge plates covered with mercury, which 
occupy the second platform. Water con- 
tinually flows over these plates, washing 
away the quartz. Gold mingles with the 
mercury, forming a substance called "amal- 
gam." The lower platforms are occupied by 
similar plates of mercury, which catch any 
gold that may have been washed away with 


the quartz. The residue of the quartz-dust 
flows away into a sort of swamp. This 
residue is called " tailings." We were shown 
a patch of " tailings," and told it was worth 
^200,000 at least. 

The next process is to retort the " amal- 
gam," separating it from the gold. This 
latter is finally melted, and flows into brick- 
shaped moulds. We saw there gold bricks 
worth ^2000 each. The assayer also showed 
us his scales. These were literally adjusted 
to a hair ; for he pulled a hair from his beard 
and showed us how its weight was accurately 
measured. In an incredibly short time the 
slightest inaccuracy in the scales would make 
an important difference in the gold returns. 

The manager offered us a cup of tea, and 
then took us to see the white men's quarters. 
These were very comfortable. There was a 
well-lit messroom, in which the messboys 
were laying the table, very tidily ; a reading- 
room, and a well-filled library. 

One of the employes told us that, with a 
little common-sense, a man could save from 


ten to fifteen pounds a month. The higher 
employes could save much more. The 
work chiefly consisted in superintending 
gangs of native boys. A doctor belonging 
to the mine looked after the sick. 

The work seemed pleasanter and better 
paid than that of clerks in offices at home. 
Once off duty you were as good as your 
neighbour. You could go to any of the 
balls or concerts given in Johannesburg. 
There were little or no caste divisions. 
Barmaids and shop girls skipped about at 
the balls. Why not? The wives of the 
" upper ten " had many of them been bar- 
maids and shop girls not so very long ago. 
Besides all this, a lucky find might make any 
miner a rich man in the twinkling of an eye. 

At last the hour of our departure from the 
" Golden City " struck. The stars were still 
bright in the heavens as we said good-bye to 
the Nurses' Home, and hurried through 
sleeping Johannesburg to catch the Kimber- 
ley coach. We were on foot ; our luggage 
had been sent on the day before, 

1 8 ADVENTURES chap. 

The coach was of the good old-fashioned 
type, and a great improvement on the spring- 
less waggonette which had brought us from 
Natal. It was somewhat the worse for wear, 
having been brought in its old age from 
California. Bret Harte's chivalrous ruffians 
had probably travelled by it. This appealed 
to one's imagination, and made one forget its 
air of dilapidation. 

We stowed ourselves away each in a 
corner. The remaining space was filled by 
men, none of them very slim, and one enor- 
mously fat. When the sun rose the heat 
and stuffiness may be imagined. We were 
packed like sardines in a box. The very fat 
man sat between Sister Lucy and me. He 
turned out the best of the lot after all, taking 
great care of our comfort, and spending long 
hours in the blazing heat and clouds of dust 
on the top of the coach to give us more 
room. His name was Ross. We began by 
thirsting for his blood, and ended by thinking 
him a capital fellow. 

We left Johannesburg with a team of ten 


horses. Every hour and a half we halted 
and changed the team. At every halt the 
men got out and drank. No wonder! If I 
had been a man no doubt I should have 
done the same. But noblesse oblige ! We 
were women ; therefore we smiled amiably 
at heat, thirst, cramp, and general discomfort. 
We declared it wasn't half bad, and privately 
wished we had never been born. Sister 
Lucy suffered most. She is tall, and her 
legs would not fit in anywhere. 

The coach, with its outside passengers 
and its miserable twelve inside, rumbled 
along, and at three o'clock in the afternoon 
brought us to a quaint little Dutch village 
called Potscherfstrom. Here we rested and 
refreshed ourselves for an hour. Then on 
again till eight, when we reached another 
village. Here we remained till two o'clock 
in the morning, resting meanwhile on some 
very dubious - looking beds. Away then 
through cool moonlight and blazing day, 
doing close on twenty hours with only an 
hour's rest. Sister Lucy got outside in the 


moonlight, and drove us into Christiana at a 
rattling pace, the last team of horses being 
in first-rate form. We reached Christiana at 
half-past ten at night, and were conducted to 
two small outhouses. Sister Lucy and I 
took one, the other two nurses the other. 
The place was unspeakably dirty. We 
spread our rugs over the beds and lay down. 
At one end of the room a thin muslin 
curtain hung over an opening in the wall 
apparently leading to a large cupboard. 
Towards three in the morning we were 
awakened by a great noise in the yard out- 
side. Strange yells and scraps of songs were 
followed by scuffling and the sound of a 
heavy fall, apparently in the cupboard next 
our room — then silence. We dozed a little. 
Then I said, " It must be nearly five." To 
our horror a tipsy voice answered from the 
other side of the muslin curtain, " Notsh 
fivesh, foursh ; foursh, I tellsh you." There 
was another entrance to the cupboard, which 
was a small room, and the noisy tipsy man 
had been pushed in there ! 


We fled madly to the other nurses, and 
were very glad indeed to be whirled away 
in the coach without our tipsy neighbour. 
In a few hours we reached a railway station, 
and a train quickly carried us to Kimberley. 

The Hospital is rather a rambling place. 
The part devoted to European patients, 
nurses' dining-room, kitchen, and offices, 
formed a long low bungalow set in the midst 
of pleasant grounds. Close at hand, but 
scattered irregularly over a large compound, 
were the native wards — surgical, medical, 
women, and lock — each at some distance 
from the other. The nurses' home was a 
building apart. The nurses' rooms were 
built round a flowery quadrangle. Each 
nurse possessed a little cell, which opened on 
a shady verandah, or " stoep," as it is called 
in Africa. 

Setting aside the nursing work, I believe 
that few hospitals in London could com- 
pete successfully with the commissariat of 
Kimberley Hospital. The seclusion and 
austere respectability of this institution af- 

22 ADVENTURES chap. 

forded a welcome change after the shiftless 
scramble of the Johannesburg Home. 

Kimberley was the African " Golconda," 
just as Johannesburg was the " Golden City." 
Therefore as soon as our work permitted we 
paid a visit to the De Beers diamond mine. 
Warned, however, by our underground ex- 
periences at the Robinson mine, we refused 
to leave the light of day. We saw countless 
numbers of trucks full of blue clay, in which 
the diamonds are imbedded. Then there are 
the rooms where the diamonds are sorted. 
Unusual specimens are kept on show. But we 
thought nothing so interesting as the great 

This is a wide space within a great 
stockade about twelve feet high. Strong 
wire netting was fastened above, so that it 
looked like a monstrous aviary. Here the 
natives who work in the mines live, to the 
number of I am afraid to say how many 
hundreds. They engage to work in the 
mine for a term of months, agreeing to re- 
main prisoners for that period. They sleep 


in sheds round the compound, have shops 
where they can buy what they choose, and 
dens where they smoke a sort of narcotic 
plant — in its effects not unlike Indian hemp. 
All these precautions are taken to prevent 
the diamonds from being stolen. But for the 
wire the men would throw the stones over 
the stockade. As it is they contrive to steal 
some. The difficulty is to get their spoil out 
of the compound. A day or two before their 
time expires they are carefully searched. 
Strong medicines are also administered in 
case they should have swallowed a diamond. 
A native, however, is very cunning. Some 
of them have been known to push their stolen 
stones carefully into a cleft in the stockade. 
When dismissed, they idle about on the veldt 
outside the compound, and gradually scratch 
the jewels out. This process is so difficult 
and dangerous that the losses of the Company 
are few, considering the large number of 
miners employed by them. Notwithstanding 
their imprisonment the natives seemed very 
jolly. Some of them were fine-looking men, 


of a higher type than the multitude. We 
heard that great chiefs in the interior sent 
their " indunas," or headmen, sometimes 
their own sons, to work in the mine in order 
that they might steal diamonds for them. 

We remained six months at Kimberley, 
and then the work began to tell on me. I 
was the night superintendent, and had to go 
from ward to ward in all weathers. I was 
often wet through, and of course had to 
remain wet until morning. The compound 
was large and unlit. Here and there were 
large holes, which after rain were filled with 
water. Into these holes one invariably 
stumbled when in a hurry. Apart from this, 
continuous night duty does not suit all consti- 

After consulting together, Sister Lucy and 
I agreed to go home together, and looked 
forward to enjoying an English summer. 
We little dreamt at that time that we were 
destined to remain two years longer in Africa. 
Instead of being at the end, we were scarcely 
at the beginning of our African experiences. 


Leave Kimberley — Hear of Bishop Knight Bruce — Offer to 
go to Mashonaland — Tickets to England — Miss the 
train — A day outside Kimberley — Bishop's telegram — 
Off to Cape Town — Meet Bishop — Settle to join 
Mission — Leave the Roslyn Castle — Mr. Maund 
— Decide to go via Pungwe — Plans changed — 
Stop at Durban — Canon Booth — Indian Mission — 
Bishop off to Maritzburg — Lodging hunting — Durban 
and its inhabitants — Visit to house of Jamieson— Mos- 
quitoes — Kaffir huts — Indian service — Bishop returns 
— Leaves for Beira without us — "Major" Johnson — 
Dr. Doyle Glanville — Off at last — Fellow-passengers — 
Inhambane — The Queen's health — Beira — Fighting 
up country — Battle of Chua — H.M.S. Magicienne— 
Johnson again — Captain Ewing to the rescue — Oft 
to Mozambique — Mr. Grant's natives — Quilimane — 
Curios — Beira again. 

In the spring of 1891, therefore, Sister Lucy 
Sleeman and I were getting ready for our 
homeward journey, and expecting to be back 
in England in a few weeks. At that time 
the Chartered Company's expedition to 
Mashonaland was in everyone's mouth. A 

26 ADVENTURES chap. 

concession had been obtained from Loben- 
gula, the great Matabele chief, and pioneers 
and police were in the heart of the country. 

Wonderful reports came from Mashona- 
land to the colony. We heard of grass ten 
feet high, of trees sixty feet in circumference, 
of mysterious ruins. The whole country 
was said to be one vast gold-reef. But the 
way from Cape Town to Mashonaland was 
long and perilous. Swamps, which exhaled 
poisonous vapours, had to be traversed. 
Swollen rivers, swarming with crocodiles, had 
to be crossed. Boats and canoes were not 
to be procured, the men were forced to swim 
across. Oxen fell sick, and died by the 
score on the long trek. Fever ravaged the 

Under these circumstances the Company 
were endeavouring to make a new and 
shorter route to the interior. For this pur- 
pose steamers were to run from Durban to 
the Pungwe — a large river between Mozam- 
bique and Delagoa Bay. At the mouth of 
it was a small Portuguese station called 


Beira. It was supposed that the Pungwe 
would be navigable for nearly one hundred 
miles, and that a road from thence to Fort 
Salisbury, the capital of Mashonaland, could 
be easily made. 

The Chartered Company had seized 
Manica, or South-East Mashonaland. This 
territory was claimed by Portugal, but not 
much importance was attached to the claim. 
M'Tassa, the native king of Manica, had 
given a concession to the Chartered Com- 
pany. Everyone in Kimberley was either 
going himself to Mashonaland, via the 
Pungwe, or had a friend or relation going 
up ; and when it became known in the 
Hospital that the Bishop of Bloemfontein had 
given up this diocese for that of Mashona- 
land, considerable interest was aroused. 

In a short time we were told that Dr. 
Knight Bruce wished to take nurses up to 
his new diocese, where he projected estab- 
lishing several hospitals. However, the 
Mission the Bishop was organising was poor. 
The hospital scheme appeared likely to fall 

28 ADVENTURES chap. 

through for want of funds. It seemed a 
pity. After some discussion with other 
nurses, Sister Lucy Sleeman and I volun- 
teered to go with Dr. Knight Bruce. A 
third nurse offered to accompany us if the 
Mission could pay her £\o a year. This 
was, considering the undertaking, a nominal 
salary, but circumstances forbade her going 
without any remuneration at all. After 
some delay the Bishop's answer came. He 
said we were mistaken in supposing that 
his hospital project had failed. He thanked 
us for our offer, but all his arrangements 
were completed. I can honestly say I was 
much relieved, and took our passages to 
England with unalloyed pleasure. 

The morning of our departure came, and 
we set off in the highest spirits. 

But our adieus had been too prolonged. 
As we reached the station we just caught a 
glimpse of our train puffing out of it. 
There was not another to be had for twenty- 
four hours. Lamentations were futile. We 
left our luggage at the station and drove out 


to a house, half inn, half farm, where we 
could lunch and while away the time till 

The inn was not unpicturesquely situated 
in the midst of the dreary desert plain that sur- 
rounds Kimberley. A few good-sized trees 
afforded shade. A small stream of water 
trickled over great granite boulders, falling 
with a pleasant splash into a pool. As we 
sat after luncheon beside this pool, I re- 
member saying that Africa was a difficult 
place to escape from. It was like a huge 
devil-fish. Once it caught you, escape was 
impossible. For my part I felt as if we 
should never get away. My companions 
laughed at the notion. They said our 
tickets to England were like amulets, and 
would break the evil spell. Unless we missed 
a train every day for a week we could not 
miss our ship. In spite of these excellent 
arguments events proved that I was right, 
and I cling to the belief that for once I had 
a real presentiment. 

On our way back to our Kimberley hotel 

3 o ADVENTURES chap- 

we called at the post-office to see if any 
letters had arrived for us. There fate over- 
took us in the shape of a telegram from the 
Bishop, asking us to join him. I urged a 
refusal. "He who will not when he may, 
when he will he shall have nay," seemed to 
me the spirit in which to answer. Finally a 
compromise was effected, and we telegraphed 
to say we would meet Dr. Knight Bruce at 
Cape Town, and consider the possibility of 
accepting his proposals. 

The Bishop, in fact, appeared at Poole's 
Hotel, Cape Town, the day after our arrival. 
We found him comparatively young for a 
Bishop, not much past forty, very pleasant and 
persuasive, and with an exceptional talent for 
getting out of a room well — a much rarer 
gift this than one might suppose. The 
Bishop's exits were always effective ; he 
evanesced rather than went, always at the 
right moment, and left behind him a little 
hush, in which one would place a note of 

We told him we had heard that his plans 


were somewhat indefinite. On this point he 
reassured us. He said that in the disturbed 
state of Mashonaland and Manica, with the 
Portuguese question coming to a crisis, a cut 
and dried plan of action was impossible. He 
wished to go to Port Beira and up the 
Pungwe, and thence by waggon to Salisbury, 
where fever was rife. He could not feel sure 
whether we should manage an hospital estab- 
lished by the Mission, or the Company's 
hospital ; he believed the latter. This per- 
haps sounded somewhat indefinite. He had 
engaged a first-rate doctor, who was daily ex- 
pected ; he had his builder, a man who had 
been with Livingstone ; his carpenter, and 
others. A clergyman and some other young 
missionaries would take his waggon up by 
the long trek, from Cape Town or Natal, to 
Salisbury. The Bishop had his own medical 
stores ; the Company had large stores already 
up there. We should require to think of 
nothing but a personal outfit. We told him 
that though we were not at all "fine," and 
were quite ready to do anything that might 

32 ADVENTURES chap. 

want doing, as far as we could, yet we were 
unsuited physically for such work as "dag- 
hering" huts or "smearing floors" — that is, 
plastering walls with a mixture of mud, water, 
straw, and cowdung ; and smoothing a sort 
of liquid manure over floors, which hardens, 
and can be swept and kept clean. We had 
heard at Kimberley that "daghering" and 
" smearing " would be essential parts of our 

Dr. Knight Bruce again reassured us on 
this point, saying there would not be any such 
rough work, as it would all be done by 
natives. We should have a white cook and 
orderly, at least for the first year. He had 
been a ship's steward, and we should find him 
most useful. Later on we could make other 
arrangements according to circumstances. 
These points being settled, the Bishop asked 
us to engage ourselves to the Mission for one 
year ; but, after some discussion, in which we 
pointed out to him that it would be impossible 
to do much towards establishing an hospital 
in one year, it was settled that we should give 


our services for two years, and that the 
Mission should pay our passages back to 
England at the end of that time. 

The next few days were one continual 
rush and hurry to get an outfit in time. It 
was of great interest to us to see our tent, a 
charming marquee, and think of living in it ; 
and to note all the preparations for a real 
campaign in the interior of Africa. By the 
1 6th of April, 1891, our purchases were made, 
and we embarked in the Roslyn Castle, en 
route for the Pungwe. This river, as yet un- 
explored, and sometimes known as the Aruan- 
gua, was said to be navigable for small 
steamers, at least as far as seventy miles from 
its mouth at Beira. It was proposed to take the 
pioneers this distance up the river ; establish 
a camp for the storing of goods ; and convey 
them by waggon and coaches, drawn by trot- 
ting bullocks, as far as Salisbury, a distance 
of about four hundred miles. A Road Com- 
pany had been formed for this purpose, the 
road being supposed to be already completed. 

The Bishop having decided on going to 


Port Elizabeth by train and joining us there, 
we were taken on board our steamer by the 
well-known Mr. Maund. This charming 
traveller had already gone up to Mashona- 
land by the inland trek, immediately after the 
first pioneers had opened up the country ; 
had visited Lobengula, the great Matabele 
King ; and had had the honour of taking his 
indunas to England, and presenting them to 
the Queen. He told us that Gordon Pasha 
had been one of his dearest friends, and that 
illness alone had prevented him from making 
his way to Khartoum. Mr. Maund im- 
pressed us as being one of those delightful 
people who invariably secure the best cabins 
in ships, and the best boxes at the play, and 
have the best appliances in every emergency. 
He gave us some useful information about 
modes of life up country, predicting our safe 
arrival there via the Pungwe, in spite of the 
Portuguese difficulty. Questioned as to this, 
he said it might be briefly summed up as a 
dispute between Portugal and the British 
South Africa Company about the possession 


of Manica, or South-East Mashonaland. He 
supposed that the Portuguese had been the 
first to explore that province, but they had 
not colonised it, nor had they any concessions 
from the existing chiefs. If they had, Mr. 
Rhodes would " square it." We afterwards 
found this to be a sort of watchword in 
Africa. Whatever happens, people shrug 
their shoulders and say : "It will be all right, 
Rhodes will square it." 

After a pleasant dinner Mr. Maund went 
on shore, and the Roslyn steamed majestic- 
ally out to sea. On the 18th of April we 
arrived at Port Elizabeth, one of the most 
uninteresting, colourless towns it is possible 
to imagine, though I believe the country 
round about is beautiful, and from some of 
the heights near the town we caught exquisite 
glimpses of sea and distant hills. We had to 
wait at this wearisome place till Monday 
evening. The Bishop arrived just at dark, 
and the bay was so rough that there was 
some difficulty about getting him on board. 
Hardly was this effected when the anchor 


was raised, and we soon saw the lights of 
Port Elizabeth disappear in the distance. 

Next day the Bishop told us there was 
really no chance of our being able to go 
to Beira and up the Pungwe. Sir John 
Willoughby and some of the Company's 
people had been fired at by the Portuguese, 
and were obliged to return to Natal. We 
should go by train from Natal to Maritzburg, 
and thence by post-cart and waggon to our 

This was disappointing ; we had looked 
forward to travelling by an entirely new route, 
and had heard great things of the Pungwe as 
a beautiful river on whose banks lions stood 
and roared, but always at a safe distance. 
However there appeared to be no help for it, 
so we resigned ourselves to the inevitable. 

On Wednesday the 22nd we reached 
Durban. The long line of green, monotonous 
coast had not prepared us for anything so 
beautiful. Indeed we were delighted with 
Durban. The bay is dotted with islands 
and picturesque mangrove growths, whilst 


the wooded heights of Berea form a lovely 
background to the town. 

We nurses went to the Royal Hotel, where 
all the service is done by Indians, swathed in 
muslin and bare-footed, and giving a charm- 
ing suggestion of Orientalism. The Bishop 
was put up by Canon Booth, doctor and 
missionary, one of the most interesting 
people it has been my fortune to meet in 

The next day we had to unpack every- 
thing, and repack in the smallest possible 
compass for post-cart travelling. We were 
to start for Maritzburg at three in the after- 
noon. At one the Bishop came and said we 
could not leave till next day. I told him I 
had a presentiment that we should go by the 
Pungwe after all ; and, although he said this 
was quite impossible, still it appeared to me 
that very probably the Willoughby incident 
would bring matters to a crisis. And as the 
Portuguese were hardly likely to embark on 
a war with England, the result would be 
an understanding between England and 

38 ADVENTURES chap. 

Portugal, and the route to Manica would be 
thrown open. 

As if to justify my presentiment, the 
Bishop came to us on the 24th, and told us 
that our places were taken in train and 
coach, but that he had given up the land 
route, and was going to make a push for 
the Pungwe after all. The reason of this 
complete change of front was that he had 
met a man who had just arrived from 
Mashonaland, and said that he had left there 
last December. He had been four months 
on the journey, and described the routes as in 
a terrible state, owing to the worst rainy 
season that had been known for many years. 
Many trekkers, he said, had been forced to 
abandon their waggons on the banks of 
impassable rivers. So it appeared to be 
better to wait at Durban until the Pungwe 
route was open. 

A certain Johnson had obtained a contract 
for transport from Beira to Mashonaland, and 
had formed a Road Company. There was 
a pioneer camp on the Pungwe called 


'Mpanda's, and from there the Road Com- 
pany's waggons were to start. A road was 
in process of construction, and nearly 
finished. A fast coach would also run from 
'Mpanda's to Salisbury, by which we could 
reach the latter place in ten days. 

In spite of the prospect of a tedious delay 
at Durban, we rejoiced over this plan, and 
hoped it would prove more stable than the 
others. That same afternoon, however, we 
had another visit from the Bishop. He 
came to tell us that he thought it useless to 
wait, and that we must be ready to start for 
Beira next morning in the Venice. He 
believed that by the time we reached the 
Pungwe the Portuguese difficulty would be 
disposed of. We hastened to make all the 
needful arrangements, and it was a great 
disappointment when the Bishop reappeared 
that same evening, and said he thought it 
would be better to let the Venice go without 
us. She would touch at several ports and 
take ten days to get to Beira. The Norse- 
man would go in eight or ten days' time, 


reaching Beira in four days. The Bishop 
intended spending the interval at Maritzburg, 
and proposed to take us there also, leaving us 
with a sisterhood, whilst he stayed with the 
Governor. By this time we were much 
bewildered by the constant changes of 
plan, and began to think we should never 
arrive anywhere. We were, therefore, not 
much surprised when the next morning he 
suggested our staying at Durban, instead of 
going to Maritzburg with him. 

The hotel being very dear, Canon Booth's 
sister kindly called for us to go lodging 

Our first experience was a strange one. 
We went by tram to the top of the Berea 
heights, catching most exquisite glimpses 
of the town and bay. We stopped at a 
boarding house which was said to be ex- 
tremely "refined and elegant." The cream 
of the shipping-agency clerks would there 
find "home comforts and intellectual con- 
versation " for a moderate price. The 
mistress of this abode received us in a 


tea gown, in the midst of a confusion of 
antimacassars, scent bottles, fans, and all sorts 
of odds and ends. She allowed us to see a 
very dirty room next a stable, in which a 
coloured man was sleeping, and told us we 
must keep a light burning all night on account 
of the swarms of rats. She thought we 
could all sleep in it ''somehow," and was 
much shocked to find that, although we were 
"nursing sisters," we did not think this 
accommodation sufficient. But we felt that 
we should have unavoidable opportunities 
for mortifying the flesh later on, and that it 
would, therefore, be useless to make our- 
selves uncomfortable on purpose. So, saying 
good-bye to the presiding genius, we set out 
in search of something cleaner, if less intel- 
lectual ; and were fortunate enough to dis- 
cover a dear, simple Scotchwoman, by name 
Miss Wright, who had a background of 
brooms and dusters, instead of fans and scent 
bottles. Here we established ourselves 
that very evening. 

The next day was Sunday, remarkable 

42 ADVENTURES chap. 

only for one of the longest, weariest, and 
dullest sermons it has ever been my fate to 
endure, which we heard at St. Cyprian's, the 
most important church in Durban. A walk 
home by the exquisite moonlight somewhat 
compensated for the hour and a half in the 
hot, stuffy church. The effect of light and 
shade, as we passed along an avenue of 
feathery bamboos was indescribable, a 
thing to feel and dream about. 

Our uniforms attracted a good deal of 
attention, quiet as they were — the cross 
which the Bishop wished us to wear making 
them more conspicuous than they otherwise 
would have been. The fact, too, that we 
were bound for Mashonaland made us 
objects of general and very kindly interest. 
Everyone who had the slightest acquaint- 
ance with our hostess called, and requested 
her to bring us to call. 

Some of these ladies had most charming 
houses, built here and there along the Berea 
heights. We were specially delighted with 
the house of a Mrs. Ballance, a fascinating 


old lady, still extremely handsome, with a 
quiet, dignified manner — a refreshing change 
after the somewhat emphatic colonial cor- 
diality. From the terrace of her house we 
looked down on a waving mass of tree tops. 
In the middle distance, sweeping in long 
curves round the bay, the white houses of 
Durban glittered in the evening sunlight. 
The bay itself lay absolutely still — not a 
ripple breaking its vivid blue-green colour ; 
whilst the distant shipping out in the open, 
with here and there a glint of foaming 
breakers, gave animation to the scene. 

One's first impression at Durban is that 
one can never leave it again, and that life in 
the midst of its dreamy beauty must be ideal. 
But after a few days one realises that it is 
always the same view — a beautiful but mono- 
tonous effect of light and colour ; and one 
longs for barren and rocky shores. 

Possibly the plague of mosquitoes has 
some influence in breaking the spell. Sister 
Lucy Sleeman and I appeared to be small- 
pox patients. We were literally swollen out 


of all resemblance to human beings. The 
mosquito curtain indeed protected us some- 
what at night, but the insatiable mosquitoes 
devoured us all day long. We were told 
that an excellent remedy was to burn Keat- 
ing's powder on a shovel. We did so, but 
only succeeded in giving ourselves violent 
headaches, accompanied by vomiting and 
general discomfort ; whilst the mosquitoes 
went to sleep for an hour or two, and woke 
up like giants refreshed. 

The British South Africa's agent at 
Durban, Mr. Jamieson, asked us to go to 
his house at Bellair, about twenty minutes 
by train from Durban. So we set out one 
morning, and arriving at the Bellair station, 
found Mrs. Jamieson there to meet us. She 
was most kind and cordial. The house, sur- 
rounded by a lovely garden, commanded fine 
inland views of wooded hills and undulating 
plains. We were glad to lose sight of the 
perpetual sea view. The garden, which we 
explored after luncheon, was rilled with every 
sort of strange flowering shrub and tree, 


collected from all parts of Africa. Mrs. 
Jamieson was devoted to her garden ; each 
plant seemed to be a special friend, and to 
receive special care, with the happiest results. 
A hedge of martinguelas — at that time partly 
covered with fruit and partly with its white 
starlike blossoms, which exhale a strong 
perfume, something like that of a gardenia 
— shut off the garden from some Kaffir huts, 
built exactly like the native hut, untouched 
by civilisation. We crept into one of them, 
and examined its beehive shape and smooth, 
hard, earthen floor with much interest, as 
huts like these would probably be our home 
for the next year at least. On the whole we 
concluded that it was odd, but not half bad, 
and that it would be possible to make a 
patient tolerably comfortable in such a sur- 
rounding. We did not return to Durban till 
late that evening. 

On Saturday, the 2nd of May, the Bishop 
returned to Durban, and preached at St. 
Cyprian's on the following Sunday. In the 
afternoon we all went down to St. Aiden's, 


the church of the Indian Mission. Few 
things at Durban are more interesting than 
this Mission. Canon Booth, who is its 
founder, was at one time a doctor practis- 
ing in India. Taking orders, and settling at 
Durban, he has devoted his life, energies, 
and fortune to the services of the Indians of 
Durban. A large room — half study, half 
surgery — is attached to the group of church 
and schools, and here the Canon looks after 
the physical well-being of his flock. The 
service was conducted in an Indian dialect, 
and a very intelligent-looking Indian deacon 

The language did not strike us as being 
harmonious, but the gestures of the preacher 
were so graphic, and his features so animated, 
that it was really possible to get at the drift 
of his sermon. The singing was monoton- 
ous and barbaric beyond expectation. Poor 
as the church was, its very poverty appealed 
to one's imagination more than do many 
more splendid churches. The Indian women, 
delightfully draped in many coloured stuffs, 


looked like so many Old Testament illustra- 
tions, and suggested a shadowy background 
of palm-tree, desert, and camel. 

After service we had a sort of picnic tea 
in the surgery. The Canon outside his work 
is as full of fun as a boy, as, indeed, most 
" all round " men are, and we amused our- 
selves very well, till the fading light reminded 
us that it was time to get back home. 

We had a long talk with the Bishop next 
day. It was settled that we were to go with 
him by the Norseman on the 6th of May. 
He looked very fit, and was in excellent 
spirits, having enjoyed himself much at 
Maritzburg. Of course we rejoiced greatly 
at the near prospect of leaving. We ex- 
pected to reach Beira in three or four days, 
and to find the waggons and coaches of 
Johnsons Road Company at 'Mpanda's, 
seventy miles up the river. Our hostess on 
the Berea declared herself very sorry to lose 
us. She, however, entered into the spirit of 
our venture, and procured us lessons in 
bread-making. Sister B. Welby, who was 

48 ADVENTURES chap. 

with us, and who knew something of baking 
in the ordinary way, went to some people 
who were accustomed to trek over the veldt, 
and was initiated in the mysteries of bread- 
making in an iron pot, over an open-air fire. 
Unfortunately her experience was not of much 
use to us. She left us a few months after, 
as will appear later on. 

The long waited for Wednesday dawned 
at last, but, alas ! the Norseman was not 
ready. She would sail the next day. It 
seemed to our impatient fancy that these 
delays would never end. To occupy our- 
selves we went to see the Durban Hospital. 
We were much shocked by its dirty, dis- 
orderly wards. Dirty dressings were lying 
about, clothes lay on the floor near the beds, 
the nurses were invisible, and an atmosphere 
of complicated unpleasantness seemed to 
pervade the whole place. No doubt all this 
has long since been reformed. We heard 
that there had been many complaints about 
the hospital, and no wonder. No one in- 
terested in hospital work could see such a 


place without a feeling of intense depression. 
But I write of over two years ago, and since 
then I hear that Lady Mitchell's trained 
nurses have given nursing in Natal an im- 
petus in the right direction. 

Thursday, the 7th of May, was a sadly 
eventful day. We were up betimes, and 
sent our luggage down to the boat. We 
were to follow towards midday. But at half- 
past nine in the morning we received a 
hurried summons from the Bishop, requesting 
us to join him as soon as possible at the 
Royal Hotel, where we should meet Mr. 
Johnson, the manager of the Road Company. 

Full of unpleasant presentiments, Sister 
Lucy Sleeman and I hurried to the hotel, 
the third sister declaring herself unequal to 
the interview. Arrived at the hotel, we 
found the Bishop alone, and seemingly much 
disturbed. He said he feared we could not 
go with him, that he must go alone, and that 
we should be able to follow in about a 
month ! 

I cannot describe the despair we felt at 

50 ADVENTURES chap. 

this announcement. We must have shown 
very great discouragement, for the Bishop 
begged us not to allow our very natural dis- 
appointment to damp our zeal for the work. 
He said he had discussed the matter 
exhaustively with Mr. Johnson, and we 
should see this person ourselves, and hear 
all he had to say. 

Mr. or " Major " Johnson, as he elected 
to call himself, then appeared. He was a 
dark, somewhat stout man ; seemingly good- 
natured ; and with a rather noisy, jovial 
manner, which probably does him good 
service in the many unpleasant emergencies 
which a habit of romancing on all occasions 
necessarily create in the long-run, — withal, I 
believe, a staunch friend and a man of ex- 
ceeding energy. 

He made the following statement, which 
proved to be so entirely without foundation, 
that if it had not been written in my Diary 
within an hour of its having been made, 
I should feel it impossible to believe that 
I had heard it : — 


" The officer in charge of the road-making 
department in Mashonaland," he said, "has 
indeed made his road, but, unfortunately, he 
has directed his road to a river seventy miles 
south of the Pungwe, instead of taking it to 
the Pungwe as directed. This river is called 
the Sabe. It has therefore been necessary 
to cut a road through one hundred miles of 
bush, in order to unite the Pungwe to the 
existing road, the additional twenty miles 
being caused by the swamps, which it is 
needful to avoid." Major Johnson then pro- 
ceeded to say that if we went up with the 
Norseman we should have to spend ten days 
on the Pungwe in an open lighter, crowded 
with white men and with natives, who were 
to be engaged in road -making. He said 
there was really no accommodation for 
women, and that the swampy nature of the 
banks of the Pungwe would make it impos- 
sible for us to have our tent pitched and live 
on shore. 

Of course, disappointed as we were, it was 
impossible not to see that if we insisted on 


going with the Norseman, we should not only 
be useless, but a trouble and hindrance, and 
should find ourselves in an altogether impos- 
sible position. So, having to yield, we did it 
with the best grace we could muster. Major 
Johnson and the Bishop hoped that we might 
perhaps be able to get away on the 16th of 
May. They assured us that when we got to 
Beira we should find a small steamer, the 
Agnes, ready to take us up to the pioneer 
camp, where the waggons would be in readi- 
ness, and a considerable portion of the road 
finished. The Bishop's doctor — Dr. Doyle 
Glanville — who was daily expected, would 
travel with us. 

Dr. Knight Bruce seemed somewhat de- 
pressed by the continual obstacles which 
cropped up unceasingly. He said he counted 
on our " cheery courage," and of course we 
were very anxious to make as few difficulties 
as possible. Still the prospect of being 
left behind, we three women, to make our 
way into the interior with an entirely un- 
known man, could not fail to make us feel 


anxious and troubled. By way of raising our 
spirits, too, Major Johnson told us that the 
whole country was in a state of convulsion ; 
that "rebel" Portuguese troops defied the 
control of the Governor of Mozambique, and 
persisted in attacking the English ; and that 
fighting was expected beyond Masse- Kesse. 
In point of fact, the Portuguese troops were 
not at all mutinous; no news of a modus 
vivendi had penetrated into the interior, and 
Portuguese and English were preparing to 
fight in earnest. It is not altogether surprising 
that, as we saw the Norseman steam away, we 
felt very forlorn indeed, and I think a few 
futile tears were shed. 

Day after day slipped by in monotonous 
succession. From time to time rumours of 
fighting up country reached us, and on all 
sides we were assailed by entreaties to return 
home, and give up an attempt which would 
prove fruitless. In the shops the people who 
served us with a biscuit or a yard of ribbon 
would ask if we really meant to go to 
Mashonaland, and advise us not to do so. 


Often we were stopped by women, who would 
say with tears, " Sister, my son (or brother) 
is up in Mashonaland — take care of him if 
you meet him." An old man in a tram-car 
was so pathetic over our future fate, that 
Sister Lucy was beginning to be quite touched, 
when our friend suddenly lurched forwards 
and fell under the seat. We then discovered 
that he was extremely tipsy, and were very 
much ashamed of having listened to him. 
One evening, as all three of us were taking 
a constitutional outside Durban, some old 
people, who were driving a sort of gig, stopped 
and asked us if we were really off to Mashona- 
land. They seemed to think we were start- 
ing then and there — walking off without 
escort or luggage ! We reassured them with 
some difficulty, and explained that, when we 
did leave, it would be very comfortably in a 

On the 15th of May Dr. Doyle Glanville 
appeared. He was a tall, soldierly-looking 
man, past his prime, with a very important 
manner, but seemingly not a bad fellow au 


fond. To our great consternation he said 
that he knew nothing of any settled plan of 
the Bishop's ; that he was bound to the 
Union Steamship Company, being a doctor 
on board one of their steamers ; and that it 
would be quite three weeks before he could 
start up country. He thought we must 
decide for ourselves whether we would wait 
for him, or go on and try to catch the Bishop 
at 'Mpanda's. For himself, he had to hurry 
back to his ship. 

This left us in a state of trouble and per- 
plexity easily to be imagined. The next day 
we received a letter from the Bishop from 
Beira, telling us that he expected us by the 
next steamer. We heard on all sides that it 
was more than probable we should reach 
'Mpanda's before the Bishop could leave, as 
it was said that the troubles in Manica were 
taking very serious proportions, and that the 
road-making party had been forced to leave 
off work, and return to 'Mpanda's. Still it 
was rather an important step to take, and we 
resolved to consult Colonel W ; Mr. 


Watts, the Union Company's agent ; Mr. 
Jamieson, the agent both of the Chartered 
Company and of the Bishop ; and others. 
All of them advised us not to wait for the 
Doctor, but to make a push for 'Mpanda's. 
One of the Bishop's people, a boy called 
Wilson, had remained behind with us, and 
would, we thought, be a sufficient protec- 
tion. He was a youth from the east end of 
London, exceedingly sharp and useful, able 
to put his hand to most things, but appar- 
ently not very strong. He, too, was con- 
sulted, and elected to go with us. 

On Wednesday, the 28th of May, we said 
good-bye to our kind hostess, turned our 
backs on Durban, and steamed forth into 
the unknown on board the coasting steamer 
Tyrian commanded by Captain Morton. The 
vessel was crowded with men — Pungwe 
pioneers — some going up as traders, all more 
or less as prospectors. They were full of 
hope and enthusiasm about the new country ; 
nothing was heard in the ship but a per- 
petual talk of "booms," " reefs," " alluvial," 


and of all the chances there appeared to be 
of making a rapid fortune. 

Amongst our fellow-passengers was Mr. 
Grant, son of the famous explorer, on his 
way to Mozambique, where he intended to 
engage a number of carriers, to take up the 
Zambesi to the Lake Country and beyond 
into the interior. He was a very pleasant 
young fellow, who had already done a good 
deal of exploring work, and with whom it 
was very interesting to talk. 

Mr. Walter Sutton, the ill-fated son of 
the archdeacon of that name, was with us 
too, the picture of health. He has since 
disappeared on the veldt up country, and 
there is little or no hope of his ever being 
seen again. Many another of our fellow- 
passengers has since joined that ever in- 
creasing majority. The greater number of 
the others we were to meet again under very 
different circumstances. 

Captain Morton told us that he did not 
see how Dr. Doyle Glanville could possibly 
follow us till nearly the end of June, so it 

58 ADVENTURES chap. 

really seemed as if we had been well advised 
in not waiting for him. 

Passing dismal, fever - stricken Delagoa 
Bay and Lorenzo Marques, we reached In- 
hambane on Saturday, the 23rd. We could 
not land that evening, but spent it on deck 
watching a total eclipse of the moon, and 
admiring our surroundings. The town or 
rather village of Inhambane was of con- 
siderable importance in the palmy days of 
the slave trade. A large, stone slave market 
looked quite important from the sea, but on 
closer inspection proved to be falling into 
ruin. There were large stone houses also, 
quite out of keeping with the present pro- 
portions of the place. Here for the first 
time we made acquaintance with the beautiful 
feathery cocoa-nut palm, groves of which 
fringe the bay, and cover the many islands 
reflected in its clear still waters. 

The following day we went on shore, 
and were almost instantaneously mobbed by 
natives. Apparently these had never seen 
European women before, for they followed 


us, to the number of forty or fifty, wherever 
we went, evidently criticising freely — and, 
probably, not always favourably. 

Those houses which were inhabited were 
chiefly of the wattle and daub order, spot- 
lessly clean, and built in the midst of large 
shady compounds. In spite of the heat we 
strolled beyond the village, through groves 
of cocoa-nut trees, and, coming to a small 
native hut, asked Mr. Grant to send a boy 
up one of the palms to bring us some nuts. 
This he did. The boy forthwith picked up 
a hatchet, and, cutting little holes in the tree 
as he climbed, inserted one big toe after 
another into the holes, and was soon at the 
top of this improvised staircase, squatting 
comfortably among the nuts and branches, 
or rather branching leaves. He threw down 
some fine nuts, which his father opened for 
us. It being the 24th of May, we drank 
the Queen's health in cocoa-nut milk. Our 
attendant crowd of natives had never left 
us, and solemnly watched us imbibing the 
milk, but Sister Lucy, who didn't like it, 

60 ADVENTURES chap. 

made a grimace at them, upon which they 
shrieked with joy, throwing themselves on 
the ground, and rolling about in an ecstasy 
of enjoyment. As we walked back to the 
ship we met other natives, who were in- 
formed of the great joke, and they in their 
turn attached themselves to us. At last, 
however, the noise became so intolerable, to 
say nothing of the heat and smell, that the 
white men were obliged to threaten our 
bodyguard with their sticks, whereupon the 
whole crowd fled, making for the beach, 
where they awaited our advent, and gave 
us a last yell as we rowed back to the 

On Tuesday, the 26th of May, we reached 
the much-talked of Port Beira. There was 
considerable difficulty in getting into the 
harbour owing to shoals and sand-banks, and 
to this day, in spite of buoys and charts, 
ships continually go aground. Captain 
Morton, however, was both skilful and 
lucky ; and though he had never before 
entered this harbour he did not make a 


single mistake, and we anchored safely oppo- 
site the " town." 

This said town of Beira may be described 
as a long flat reach of sand, over which a 
few tents were scattered. There were also 
two iron shanties, and that was all. The 
place looked, even from afar, the picture of 

The harbour, on the contrary, was ex- 
tremely animated. As we cast anchor, 
H.M.S. Brisk steamed out to sea, H.M.S. 
Magicienne and the gunboat Pigeon being 
anchored not far from us. One or two 
beautiful little Portuguese gunboats lay at 
a little distance ; boats flitted from ship to 
ship. Presently Captain Pipon of the Magi- 
cienne, Acting- Consul at Beira, came on 
board the Tyrian. Captain Morton intro- 
duced him to us, and we found him very 
cordial and kind. The news he gave us 
was bad. He said that the Chartered Com- 
pany's people and the Portuguese had fought 
at Masse-Kesse, the latter being driven from 
the fort, which was occupied by the English. 


It was rumoured that troops of disbanded 
Portuguese soldiers were roaming about the 
country, revenging themselves on all English- 
speaking folk whom they might come across. 
Colonel Machado, Governor - General of 
Mozambique, had therefore declared the 
route to Fort Salisbury to be closed, since 
he could not be responsible for the safety of 
anyone attempting to pass through Portu- 
guese territory ; and Captain Pipon had 
come to request Captain Morton to put up 
a notice informing his passengers that who- 
ever attempted to go up the Pungwe did it 
at his own risk and peril, and must not expect 
British protection if he got into trouble. 

Afterwards we discovered that all these 
rumours had reached Beira in a very garbled 
condition. It was indeed true that there had 
been fighting at Masse- Kesse. Captain 
Heyman, of the Chartered Company's Police, 
having been ordered by the Portuguese 
commandante at Masse - Kesse to leave 
Manica, or he would be driven out, promptly 
marched from Umtali to Masse-Kesse with 


forty-five men and a seven-pounder, took up 
a good position near that fort, and by dint of 
sending up rockets and making signals, im- 
pressed the enemy with the idea that he was 
only reconnoitring for a large force. This 
force, of course, was absolutely mythical, he 
being hundreds of miles from any possible 
help. By-and-by provisions ran short with 
the gallant forty-five. Spies informed them 
that there were at least five hundred men in 
Masse-Kesse, and a large supply of " thunder 
and lightning," as natives call artillery. 
Action of some kind was imperative. As 
Captain Heyman was debating the possi- 
bility of an attack by surprise, the enemy, 
much to his gratification, marched out of 
the fort and proceeded to attack him. 

The Portuguese troops were nearly all 
coloured men, either natives or half-caste. 
They did not fight well, and after one or two 
futile attempts to storm the English camp, 
they all ran away. No artillery was used by 
the storming party. Twice the European 
Portuguese officers, who are said to have 

64 ADVENTURES chap. 

behaved splendidly, tried to rally their men, 
beating them with the flats of their swords ; 
but, finding it futile, they all three walked 
slowly away at a more than funeral pace. Two 
or three volleys were fired at them, bullets 
ploughing up the earth round them. It was 
found afterwards that one, I think Monsieur 
de Bettincourt, was wounded in the neck 
rather badly, and another in the arm. They 
made no sign, however, until, just as a 
rising ground was about to hide them from 
view, they turned, took off their hats to the 
English, and strolled slowly back to the fort. 
Convinced that a large force must be behind 
Captain Heyman, Masse-Kesse surrendered. 
The Company's people found stores of food 
and medicine, and I believe artillery, to the 
value of ten or twelve thousand pounds. 
Captain Heyman says that if the commander 
had been equal to his position and resources, 
not an Englishman ought to have left Manica 
to tell the tale. Of course Captain Heyman, 
by his pluck and readiness of resource, really 
secured Manica to the Company. This is 


in substance what occurred at the " Battle of 
Chua," as it is called. It took place on the 
1 ith of May, 1891. It is needless to say that 
the anniversary is always kept in Manica with 
much feasting and many speeches. I tell 
the tale, as it was told to me by the " heroes 
of Masse-Kesse " and others, with but little 
variation, though as I did not reach Umtali 
till two months later, I may possibly be 
wrong in some of the details. Everyone 
knows how difficult it is to repeat with abso- 
lute correctness. 

To return to Beira. We had expected to 
find a small steamer called the Agnes to take 
us up the Pungwe. We were quite resolved 
to go as far as 'M panda's, where, as the route 
was closed, the Bishop was in all probability 
to be found. He was said to have bought 
a piece of ground at a little distance from the 
pioneer camp, and to have pitched his tents 
on it. We heard in the evening that the 
Agnes would probably appear next day. 

The next day arrived, but no Agnes 
was to be seen. Captain Pipon asked us 



to lunch on board the Magicienne. We 
went, and enjoyed ourselves very much. 
He took great trouble to show us every- 
thing of interest in the ship, and explained 
the torpedo arrangements so wonderfully, 
that, for the space of a flash of lightning, I 
knew how to handle torpedoes ; what use to 
make of them ; how to manage a ship ; and 
a great many astonishing things which now 
are hazy as a dream. 

The Magicienne struck us as being a 
beautiful, but perhaps not very comfortable, 
ship. The engine-rooms took up an im- 
mense space, and the accommodation of the 
crew seemed to be of little importance. 
Electric bells, springs, lights, and appliances 
abounded on board ; every shelf and cup- 
board did something offensive or defensive, 
if required. The kitchens seemed to be as 
perfect as the engine-rooms. An excellent 
luncheon was sent out of them, and altogether 
we found Captain Pipon capital company. 

A rumour now reached us that the Bishop 
had left 'Mpanda's with a Portuguese called 


Captain da Silva, and four natives. This 
made us still more anxious to get on, and we 
hoped the Agnes would arrive on Friday at 
latest. We heard that she was aground on 
a sand-bank in the Pungwe, and that this 
was the cause of the delay. We had three 
cases of fever on board, but none of them 
were serious. 

Meanwhile the pioneers on board the 
Tyrian became very impatient indeed. The 
next morning they all came on deck in true 
stage freebooter costume — rifles, knives, 
long boots, truculent-looking hats, cartridge 
belts, nothing was wanting. They announced 
their intention of capturing Beira forthwith, 
and set off to interview Captain Pipon on 
the subject. What happened — whether they 
saw him, and if so what he said — I never 
heard, or do not remember. I know, how- 
ever, that Beira was not captured, and I 
think it was a great pity. It is now becoming 
quite an important place. Two-thirds of the 
inhabitants are English, and I do not think 
that Portuguese rule suits them, or tends to 

68 ADVENTURES chap. 

develope the resources of the place, which is 
really forced along, in spite of obstacles, by 
the English element. 

The capture of Beira having fallen through, 
more peaceful plans prevailed, and we went 
to a concert on board the Pigeon, where we 
spent a very pleasant evening. Scarcely had 
we got back to the Tyrian, when a storm 
broke out ; the harbour became so rough that 
the decks of the Pigeon were completely 
under water ; and if we had been ten minutes 
longer aboard of her, we should have been 
unable to leave at all till next day. We 
expected to make the acquaintance of Mr. 
Jerram, acting captain of the Pigeon later 
on, as he was for the moment Vice -Consul 
at 'Mpanda's. Captain Winslow of the Brisk 
was also up country. 

Neither Friday nor Saturday brought the 
Agnes or any news of her. The weather 
was so rough and cold that we could not go 
on board the Magicienne, where a concert 
had been got up to amuse us. It was indeed 
weary waiting. Beira was dirty, and, the 


anti-English feeling being naturally so strong, 
Captain Pipon requested us not to go on 

However, the Agnes really did appear on 
Sunday morning, with Major Johnson on 
board her, and a few minutes after she had 
cast anchor he was rowed over to the 
Tyrian. Our first inquiries were for the 
Bishop, and we were indeed sorry to hear 
the news of his departure from 'Mpanda's 
confirmed. Major Johnson said that the 
Bishop and da Silva had lost their way, and ; 
after walking about thirty miles, before they 
discovered that they were going towards the 
coast instead of towards the interior ; had 
both returned to 'Mpanda's. As the Bishop 
is an experienced traveller and sportsman, 
we concluded that this must have been da 
Silva's fault, as it in fact proved to have 
been. He professed to know the country, 
and undertook to guide the party, happily 
with no more disastrous result than a waste 
of about two days' time on a useless and 
tiring march. On their return to 'Mpanda's, 

70 ADVENTURES chap. 

da Silva objected to go any farther, and the 
Bishop was said to have pushed on ahead 
with only one boy, other bearers having 
refused to go. There was said to be con- 
siderable difficulty about obtaining native 
labour, the natives waiting to see which were 
to gain the day, English or Portuguese, and 
fearing to compromise themselves with either 
party. After a good deal of talk, Major 
Johnson told us that we could not possibly 
go to 'Mpanda's at that time. He did not 
see how he was to get us up the Pungwe. 
The Agnes would have to take the pioneers, 
and would be crowded with men ; it would 
be impossible for three women to go up with 
that crush. Also the Agnes would take two 
days going up, if she were lucky and did 
not run aground, in which case she might 
be a week. 

Captain Morton and Johnson advised us 
to go with the Tyrian to Mozambique ; 
with the understanding that, on her return 
to Beira, we should have the Agnes to our- 
selves, and go up the river in her. Feeling 


that we could not trust to these promises — 
so often made and always broken — we were 
about to decide that we would be landed at 
Beira, and make our way up for ourselves, 
even if that course involved going in native 
" dug-outs," when a new adviser appeared 
on the scene. 

This was Captain Ewing, owner of a little 
Thames launch called the Shark. In appear- 
ance somewhat like the pictures of Don 
Quixote, he was a man who had been almost 
everywhere, had done almost everything, and 
was universally liked. What was more to 
the point, he was said to be strictly a man of 
his word. He is now Port Captain at Beira. 

Captain Ewing advised us to go on to 
Mozambique, saying that the 'Mpanda-Salis- 
bury road had not progressed at all, owing 
to the- Portuguese troubles, and that the 
road- making parties had been obliged to 
return, and were forbidden by the Portu- 
guese commandante on the Pungwe to leave 
the pioneer camp. The Bishop alone had 
been allowed to proceed on his journey. 

72 ADVENTURES chap. 

We should gain nothing by going to 
'Mpanda's, but should be only shut up 
there for at least a month. So he strongly 
urged our remaining with the Tyrian, and 
gave his word of honour that, if the Agnes 
failed us on our return to Beira, he would 
himself take us to 'Mpanda's in his Shark. 
It was very bitter to us to have come so far, 
and to have actually reached Beira only to 
meet with another long delay. But, though 
quite determined to fulfil our promise to the 
Bishop, and get to Mashonaland by hook or 
by crook, we were particularly anxious to do 
nothing headstrong or unreasonable. We 
felt also that, dependent as we were on the 
goodwill of all these men, we should be more 
likely to obtain both help and sympathy by 
showing that we were amenable to honest 
advice. Of course many of them urged us 
to "chuck the Bishop," as they expressed it, 
and return to England. But this was not 
to be thought of. The Mission had gone 
to great expense in the purchase of stores, 
tents, etc. The Mission doctor was hurry- 


ing on behind us, and the Bishop had gone 
up country in the full conviction that we 
were following as fast as possible. No one 
could hold him responsible for the troubles 
which had arisen, and the unforeseen diffi- 
culties which had cropped up. Africa is the 
land of the unforeseen. The best-laid plans 
are unexpectedly swept away in the twinkling 
of an eye by a native raid, an unprecedented 
flood, a "boom" in some hitherto unheard 
of place, to which everyone rushes, " chuck- 
ing" everything and everybody, regardless 
of every previous promise or engagement. 
A will-o'-the-wisp is more steady than the 
African political horizon. "Questions," 
"wars," "difficulties," spring up at an 
instant's notice. There, too, where the 
most experienced experts and geologists 
had declared it to be impossible to find 
gold, are now the richest gold-fields perhaps 
in the world. Yes, that "nothing happens 
but the unexpected " is indeed the motto of 

Doubtless it would hc\ve better pleased 


the Bishop if a steam-tug had been ready for 
us at Beira, and a fast coach at 'Mpanda's. 
It would, therefore, have been unfair to blame 
him for the collapse of the Road Company 
and for the other difficulties which had 
sprung up in our way. Of course, in our 
secret souls, we felt that it would have been 
wiser if he had remained at Durban till we 
could all start together for Beira. But he 
probably thought that it would be for every- 
one's advantage that he should go on first, 
and have huts and hospital ready for us 
when we got up. We must believe, there- 
fore, that he acted for the best. 

Inevitable Fate then decreed that we 
should wander on to Mozambique, from 
which place it would be impossible to get 
back to Beira till the nth of June. That 
evening an unfortunate white man, whom 
the Agnes had discovered lying in an un- 
conscious and half- starved condition in an 
open boat on the Pungwe, was brought on 
board the Tyrian, Dr. de Burgh taking 
charge of him. He was very ill indeed all 


the next day, and we fed him by teaspoons- 
full every quarter of an hour, night and 

On the 2nd of June we left Beira for 
Mozambique. Our sick man was a shade 
better, but still very bad. Sisters Lucy 
Sleeman and B. Welby were utterly pros- 
trated by sea-sickness. I was not very bad, 
so stayed with the patient ; but what with the 
smell of his food, the stuffiness of his cabin, 
and one thing or another, I soon began to 
be sick also, and had the curious experience 
of trying to nurse a bad case in the intervals 
of all the qualms of sea-sickness. I held on 
for a couple of hours, and then was forced 
to call a steward and give up my place to 
him. Nothing takes pluck out of one like 
sea - sickness. The spirit felt angry and 
ashamed, but the flesh was triumphant and 

The Tyrian went straight to Mozam- 
bique, where we arrived on the 4th of June. 
The very picturesque old town is built on a 
small island. The houses are large, built of 


stone ; and are painted pink, blue, green, and 
every colour of the rainbow. A massive 
old grey fort, built in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, I . think, lends a certain air of dignity 
and calm to the somewhat confused and 
gimcrack brilliancy of the modern town. 
The light plumes of the cocoa-nut palms 
wave above the house-tops ; boats flit over 
the bay; Arab dhows, all sail and no 
hull, fly along like monstrous birds ; great 
steamers puff noisily out to sea. Whilst we 
admired the lovely, animated scene, our ship 
was suddenly besieged by a fleet of native 
" dug-outs " filled with fruit, coral, shells, or 
fish. We bought some lovely shells, but 
the coral was white, and looked brittle and 
cumbersome, and did not tempt us. We 
had great amusement out of the native fleet 
of canoes, which were either dug out of the 
trunk of a tree or made of bark. They were 
very ricketty, it being generally impossible 
for a man to stand up in them without upset- 
ting. One native paddles the canoe, another 
squats at the bottom, and scoops out the 


water all the time. If the water gets the 
better of the scooper, both men jump over- 
board, turn the canoe upside down to get rid 
of the water, right her, and start again. 

The next day we went on shore, hoping 
to find some curious specimens of native 
work, which we could take home. We 
found nothing, however, but the very com- 
monest English goods — coarse shirts of 
staring colours which the " sweated " must 
have turned out for "sweaters" by the 
hundred at home ; frightful earthenware 
dishes; and things of that sort. We admired 
the Mozambique women swathed in graceful 
if scanty drapery, and walking, as I suppose 
none but an African or an Indian woman 
can walk, with the perfection of grace. 

The Governor's house, the barracks, and 
the hospital, were quite splendid, or looked 
so in their surroundings. Such buildings 
would be better suited to Durban or Cape 
Town than to Mozambique, a sleepy hamlet, 
the commerce of which is, I hear, slowly but 
surely drifting away to other ports — to Beira, 


I believe, among others. I suppose the 
decline of the slave trade has ruined these 
once flourishing towns. 

The following day was Saturday, and Mr. 
Grant's natives to the number of seventy-nine 
came on board. Such a chattering amusing 
crowd, draped in every imaginable colour, 
swarming up the ship's sides like monkeys, 
pushing each other into the water, and laugh- 
ing perpetually ! Mr. Grant did not intend 
to take another white man with him, but 
proposed to go quite alone. He said a com- 
panion was a nuisance, as the climate is so 
irritating that it is impossible not to squabble, 
and one is always having rows about nothing 

We reached Quilimane on Sunday even- 
ing ; but, the tide not permitting us to go up 
the river, we had to stay in the open till 
the next morning. Mr. Grant's natives 
never seemed to sleep. They danced, sang, 
laughed, or told stories, like those that Mr. 
Mounteney Jephson has written about, and 
were not quiet for an hour, night or day. 


The parrot-house at the Zoo would have 
been a place to retire to for peaceful medita- 
tion, when compared with the Union S.S. 
Tyrian after the invasion of Mr. Grant's 
natives. The night we spent outside Quili- 
mane they made an especially terrible noise, 
for they had eaten a week's provision of rice 
in one day, and Mr. Grant having refused to 
give them any more, they screamed, and 
danced, and told stories with even more than 
usual energy — to drown care, or, perhaps, 
with an eye to digestion. 

We got rid of them next day, when we 
steamed up the river and anchored opposite 
the town of Quilimane, a pretty -looking 
place buried in trees, but I should think very 
unhealthy. We went on shore as soon as 
possible. It was always delightful to escape 
from the ship, which was so crowded that 
there was very little room to walk about. 
We should, indeed, have been uncomfortable 
had not Captain Morton, with thoughtful 
kindness, made us free of his chart-house, 
which we used as a little sitting-room. 


Quilimane is composed of well-built stone 
houses, standing on either side of wide roads, 
and surrounded by gardens. The orange 
trees were laden with fruit, and there were 
pine -apples and banana trees flourishing 
everywhere in all the wild luxuriance of 
African growth. The shops were just like 
those of Mozambique, and very disappoint- 
ing. Quilimane is only about fourteen days 
from Bombay, and the Arab dhows are con- 
stantly going backwards and forwards, yet 
we could not obtain a single Indian rug, a 
piece of Indian silk, or any of the beguiling 
trifles which India exports. The shops both 
at Quilimane and Mozambique were much 
like East-end stalls. The most important of 
them sold English soap, which we were glad 
to pounce upon. 

We made the acquaintance of the Acting 
Consul, Mr. Belcher, with whom Mr. Grant 
was going to stay. He took us for a long 
walk through the picturesque woods that 
surround Quilimane, and procured us some 
curios — such as gold beads made out of 


Zambesi alluvial, and long chains of mar- 
vellous fineness, like those of Venetian 
workmanship, which the natives beat out 
of a sovereign. If one has time, it is in- 
teresting to give a sovereign to the worker 
and see a chain evolved out of it. 

We could not leave Quilimane till the 
nth of June, and glad we were to be off 
again, life in the coasting steamer having 
become most wearisome. We took in a 
good stock of the oranges for which Quili- 
mane is famous. On Friday, 12th June, 
we again anchored in the Pungwe Bay, and 
Major Johnson once more came on board, 
having come down from 'Mpanda's. He 
told us that before leaving it, he had himself 
seen our tent pitched on the spot chosen by 
the Bishop, our stretchers put up, and every- 
thing made ready for our arrival. Our tent, 
he said, had been borrowed for some sick 
Europeans, but they were then convales- 
cent, and no longer needed it. He told us 
also that Dr. Todd of the Magicienne was 
looking after the sick at 'Mpanda's, the 


Company's doctor being seriously ill. There 
had been, Johnson added, a good deal of 
illness in the camp, but it was all over now. 
Nearly all this news which he gave us was 
found, on our arrival at 'Mpanda's, to be alto- 
gether misleading. Captain Ewing now 
appeared on the scene, telling us that the 
Shark would be in readiness at four the 
next morning, and that we must not keep 
her waiting, or we should lose the tide. It 
was essential to get to 'Mpanda's in one day, 
the little launch having no sleeping accom- 
modation of any sort or kind, and a night 
amid the thick river fog being a thing to be 
emphatically avoided. Therefore, very soon 
after dinner, we went to bed, looking for- 
ward immensely to at last saying good-bye 
to civilisation. 


On the Pungwe" — Sixteen hours in the Shark — Hippo- 
potami — Crocodiles — Intense heat — 'Mpanda's — 
Nowhere to sleep — Lions — Old Wilkins — Dr. Todd 
of the Magiriemie — Fever — Work among the natives 
— Camp life — The Consul — A plague of rats — Arrival 
of Dr. Glanville — News from the Bishop — Disputes 
among Mission workers — Livingstonian anecdote — 
Sir John Willoughby and monkey-nuts — Collapse of 
transport — We must walk one hundred and ninety 
miles — Opposition — The enemy routed — The Portu- 
guese commandante — A Portuguese military hospital 
— Departure of Consul — Wilkins in search of bearers 
— His dramatic return — No money — Lieut. Robertson 
to the rescue. 

We were up betimes on the morning of 
Saturday the 13th of June, and ready and 
eager to start in the Shark, which steamed 
up alongside the Tyrian punctually at four 
o'clock. But a thick fog suddenly enveloped 
us, sweeping down the Pungwe with magical 
swiftness, so that we had to curb our im- 


patience and wait till nearly five. The fog 
then lifting a little, Captain Ewing decided 
on venturing up the river, as a longer delay 
meant losing the tide, and having to spend a 
night in the Shark. The little launch being 
the tiniest of steam-launches, in which we 
three, Captain Ewing, and two sailors, had 
barely room to sit, the prospect of a night on 
board was anything but pleasant. 

We started, puffing gaily away, and soon 
lost sight of the Tyrtan, picking our way 
carefully amongst islands, which loomed 
dimly through the fog. After about an 
hour and a half the fog lightened, and then 
we discovered that we had somehow drifted 
round an island, and were rapidly returning 
to Beira. No sooner had we altered our 
course, making some advance up the river, 
than we stuck on one of the shifting sand- 
banks, which render the navigation of the 
Pungwe so troublesome. To this day, in spite 
of the many careful charts which have been 
made, steamers drift on to unexpected shoals, 
being often detained thus for many hours. 


Our sand-bank, however, did not delay us 
more than half an hour. 

By this time the sun had dispelled the 
mists, and we glided along in our little boat, 
which looked like a tiny speck on the wide 
rapid river, able at last to take note of our 
surroundings. Swift, dark, and mysterious, 
the broad Pungwe flows smoothly along, 
between low flat banks, whose vivid green 
verdure betrays the swampy nature of the 
soil. Families of cranes of every conceivable 
colour stalked about in the shallows, or stood 
pensively on one leg, giving us an indifferent, 
supercilious glance as we passed. 

Suddenly we heard a crashing amongst 
the branches and thick vegetation to the 
right of our boat, and a troop of hippopotami 
plunged heavily into the water. We took 
great delight in watching them swimming 
about, splashing, diving, or floating along 
like huge logs — although I think we were at 
first a little afraid, having heard terrible tales 
of the enraged hippopotamus crunching up 
boats for pastime as he enjoyed his morning 

86 ADVENTURES chap. 

bath. But these were amiable monsters, or 
perhaps only contemptuous. In any case 
they took no notice of us. As if in contrast 
to these great beasts, a number of curious 
little amphibious creatures, half bird, half 
reptile, flitted past the launch. We had 
scarcely finished wondering at them, when 
a flight of brilliant butterflies crossed the 
river just over our heads. There must 
have been many hundreds of them, for we 
at first thought it was a swarm of locusts. 
Never before or since have I seen so many 
butterflies, and I am told it was an unusual 

The vivid green that fringes the river 
only partially conceals long, low mud-banks 
where monstrous crocodiles sun themselves. 
One or two, disturbed by our passage, 
dropped sullenly into the water. They filled 
us with horror. Out of such evil, glittering 
eyes might lost spirits and condemned souls 
look forth. The Pungwe literally swarms 
with them. 

Now, however, we became indifferent to all 


sights and sounds. Noonday was approach- 
ing, and the heat was gradually becoming 
more intense. The launch had no awning ; 
barely a yard separated us from the boiler. 
The water became a great, glittering, 
dazzling plane. Our eyes ached, our heads 
burned. We stood up now and then, that 
being the only change of position possible. 
An insatiable thirst consumed us. Even I, 
whom my friends used to liken to a rabbit, 
because I never wanted to drink, felt dry 
and parched ; but of course I suffered much 
less than my two companions. The river 
water was quite hot ; and very nasty and 
unwholesome on account of the quantity of 
rank, decaying vegetation over which it 
flows. It served to fill one's mouth with 
from time to time, but did not afford much 
relief. We had a little claret on board and 
a few oranges ; without these latter I don't 
think we could have got on at all. As it 
was, there were moments when I felt as if 
there might be worse fates than that of 
being eaten by a crocodile. It would at all 


events be cool at the bottom of the river. 
We were, however, determined not to 
grumble. Afterwards Captain Ewing con- 
fessed that he had expected us to break 

down, and give him a "d d bad time," 

to use his own forcible language. 

Towards four o'clock, a light breeze 
springing up, life once more became the 
delightful business it generally is. 

In spite of a sand-bank or two, on which 
we had now and then stuck for a few 
minutes, we had made good way, and ex- 
pected to reach 'Mpanda's about six in the 
evening. The fires had been more than 
once raked out with tremendous noise, 
emptying of cinders overboard, and clouds of 
dust. We were going a good pace when we 
passed Nevez Fereira, a Portuguese encamp- 
ment, fifteen miles by river from 'Mpanda's, 
where the Portuguese soldiers, with beating 
drums and rifles levelled at us, had obliged 
us to stop and explain ourselves. Suddenly 
something went wrong with the screw, we 
crawled along in a jerky fashion, and took 


nearly six hours doing fifteen miles. The 
sun leaped out of the sky into the nether 
world, as it does in those climes ; and the 
marvellous tropical moonlight shed its clear 
radiance over the river, leaving the thick 
bush on either side shrouded in impenetrable 
darkness and mystery. If that veil of 
shadow had been lifted what strange 
monsters would have been revealed — fierce 
lion, gigantic python ! As we could not see, 
we imagined. By-and-by the moon deserted 
us, thick mists gathered around us, the screw 
could no longer force the launch off the 
shoals. Captain Ewing and his men got 
overboard, and shoved us off. The agonies 
of mind we suffered, lest these brave men 
should be snapped up by a passing crocodile, 
may be fancied better than described. 

It was half-past nine when we reached 
'Mpanda's. As soon as the shriek of the 
Shark's steam -whistle was heard, half the 
camp must have rushed to the landing-place. 
Lanterns flashed to and fro. A number of 
men shouted questions, and offered incom- 

90 ADVENTURES chap. 

prehensible advice. But an authoritative 
voice silenced the clamour, and directed our 
launch to go alongside a lighter, across 
which we might walk to land. 

The voice belonged to Mr. Jerram, 
acting captain of the Pigeon, and Vice- 
Consul at 'Mpanda's. He welcomed us 
cordially, and sent one of his "pigeons" to 
make coffee for us. Mr. Dymott, the Road 
Company's agent, then came forward, and 
said he was very sorry that there was nothing 
ready for us. Major Johnson had told him 
there was no chance of our coming up to 
'Mpanda's. Our tent was still occupied by 
three Europeans who had been ill. He 
would see how he could put us up in the 
morning, and meanwhile he placed his tent 
at our disposal for the night. 

This was cold comfort to us poor women, 
tired out with over sixteen hours in the 
Shark, expecting to find our tent ready for 
us, and looking forward to a peaceful night. 
We did not exactly bless the memory of the 
imaginative Johnson. However, nothing is 


so futile as grumbling. We accepted the 
situation with such calm that Mr. Dymott 
conceived the idea of keeping our tent 
altogether, a project which Captain Ewing 
and the Consul frustrated. 

Wilkins, the Bishop's builder and head- 
man — an excellent but doddering old person, 
whom it was amazing to think of as of hav- 
ing been with Livingstone — guided us to 
Mr. Dymott's tent. 

In the midst of its dirt and confusion bed 
and sleep were out of the question. We 
curled ourselves up in a heap on one of our 
waterproof sheets, and waited for day. Now 
and then we dozed, but were soon aroused 
by unaccustomed sounds — the long, weird 
shriek of a hyaena ; the roar of a lion. These 
latter were half a mile off at least, but we 
thought they were actually in the camp ! I 
think a few tears were shed in that tent ; we 
could not help feeling forlorn, alone, without 
even an acquaintance, in the midst of these 
wild surroundings, but were of course re- 

92 ADVENTURES chap. 

solved that no one should even guess what 
we felt. 

It was scarcely light when Wilkins, fol- 
lowed by his native boy, appeared with 
coffee, a bath, and a couple of buckets of 
water, requesting us to come to his tent as 
soon as we were dressed, when breakfast 
would be ready. 

After we had made a hurried toilet, the 
native who was squatting outside the tent 
guided us through the camp to the Bishop's 
encampment. This, at that time, consisted 
only of a small tent belonging to Wilkins, 
and two patrol tents for the carpenters, the 
natives, and kitchen purposes. A large 
supply of stores, partly covered with sailcloth, 
lay in front of the tent. Breakfast was 
spread on a flat, square packing-case, propped 
on two other boxes. 

During the meal Wilkins told us he had 
already seen Mr. Dymott, requesting him to 
let us have our tent immediately. This 
gentleman had demurred, saying that he 
would "run us up" a grass hut, or lean-to, 


adjoining the bar, from which we could very 
conveniently obtain our meals. " But I 
knew, sisters," said old Wilkins, "what was 
doo to females ; and I says, Mr. Dymott, I 
says, if that there tent ain't returned by ten 
o'clock, I'll strike it over the heads of them 
that live in it ! " 

Anxious to avoid a row, we sent a note to 
the Consul, begging him to have the matter 
arranged quietly, but saying that if the men 
who lived in our tent were not convalescent 
they must of course keep it. Mr. Jerram 
answered that they were up and about, but 
had no place to go to, and were not well 
enough to cook for themselves. He added 
that women could not possibly live in or near 
a bar in a pioneer camp, and that it was 
absolutely necessary for us to have our tent. 

He and Captain Ewing asked all the 
Europeans in camp to volunteer with their 
natives, and build a hospital hut for the use 
of any Europeans who might want a shelter. 
In an incredibly short time the hut was put 
up, and that afternoon old Wilkins had the 


satisfaction of pitching our tent near his 

We, meanwhile, had not been idle. Very 
soon after breakfast Dr. Todd of the 
Magicienne called, and asked us to help 
him with his sick. He told us that the 
Road Company's natives were in a shocking 
state. Two had been found dead that morn- 
ing in the miserable shelter — it could not be 
called a hut — into which they were crowded. 
Twenty-eight or thirty of these natives had 
refused to work two days before, saying they 
were ill. The whites believed they were 
shamming, therefore no rations were served 
out till they would go to work. The death 
of two of the poor creatures gave convincing 
proof of the reality of their sufferings, and 
saved the remainder. Dr. Todd refused to 
attend to them unless proper rations of 
native meal, with such meat and medical 
comforts as were available, were served out 
to them. Of course he had his way, — most 
determined men have, especially in Africa. 
Nor were the white men deliberately cruel, 


rather were they thoughtless and self- 

Besides which, the home- staying Euro- 
pean can form no idea of the powers of 
aggravation possessed by the natives. Tricky 
as water-sprites, they rejoice in the confusion 
their blunders create. A native who upsets 
his master's soup -pot just as that worthy 
clamours for dinner, cannot help grinning 
from ear to ear. Then he gets knocked 
down, but hardly has he touched the earth 
when he is up again like an elastic ball, and 
away he bounds to a group of other boys, 
who listen to his tale with delighted laughter ; 
and if they are pursued, he and his friends 
are quickly hidden in the long grass. As 
the irate white man, giving it up, marches 
off in search of a dinner, black heads peep 
out from unexpected places, and splutters of 
mocking laughter follow him. More than 
once have we watched such scenes at 
'Mpanda's, and it cannot be wondered at if 
the native is looked upon as a nuisance, im- 
possible either to get rid of or tolerate. In 


reality he is nothing but a grown-up child, 
and, if treated as such, loses much of his 
power to irritate. 

Dr. Todd took us through the camp to 
the native huts. The white men's quarters — 
tents and grass huts flung down confusedly 
on the banks of a muddy stream — were 
squalid and wretched beyond description. 
The Pungwe bounded the camp on the right, 
and a stagnant creek ran along its front. 
Empty tins and refuse of all sorts strewed 
the space between the tents and huts. As 
for the natives, they were crowded into two 
wretched grass shelters — about twenty-eight 
sick, and I don't know how many others. 
We had to go into these huts almost on hands 
and knees. 

The first thing to do was to clean up, and 
this we did at once, making brooms out of 
branches of trees. Then we got our patients 
into tidy rows on mats, blankets, or rags, 
whatever was available ; took their tempera- 
tures; fed them; hung a washing book to a 
nail to do duty for a ward book ; and soon 


established a fair imitation of hospital rou- 

Dr. Todd was delightful to work with. 
Had these miserable natives been his own 
belongings he could not have done much more 
for them. They had been engaged by the 
Road Company at Durban, I think, without 
much reference to their physical condition — 
some were phthisical, nearly all weakly. 

The work in these huts being somewhat 
trying on account of heat and smell, and the 
want of all appliances for cleaning, I under- 
took it myself, with Sister Lucy Sleeman, 
whose clever nursing and unselfish devotion 
to the sick proved so invaluable in every 
emergency. Sister B. Welby took charge of 
four Europeans, who were under Dr. Todd's 
care. One of these, who was suffering from 
a gun-shot wound, would certainly have lost 
his arm but for that doctor's timely arrival at 
at 'Mpanda's. 

In two or three days regular food and 
attention began to tell on our patients, who 
improved very rapidly. So one afternoon, 

98 ADVENTURES chap. 

Dr. Todd and Mr. Jerram, thinking we were 
beginning to look fagged, proposed taking 
us for an hour's row on the Pungwe, and 
showing us the road of which we had heard 
so much. To our astonishment and amuse- 
ment the " road " making consisted of setting 
fire to the tall grass, neither more nor less. 
We lit some of it ourselves, and felt as if we 
were materially advancing that " opening up 
of Mashonaland," which was in everyone's 

On our return to 'Mpanda's we found some 
new arrivals, who told us that Dr. Glanville 
had left Beira ; was on board the Agnes, 
stuck somewhere on a Pungwe sand-bank ; 
and might be expected at any moment. This 
was very good news. We had now been 
some days at 'Mpanda's, and had seen enough 
to know that coaches and waggons to Salis- 
bury were the least substantial of airy myths. 
Major Johnson had indeed assured us that 
the first coach had started for Mashonaland, 
but had omitted to add that it had arrived 
nowhere, and was stationary on the veldt not 


far from the Pungwe camp, merely serving 
to carry the provisions of the road-making 
party. We passed it on our way up, unable 
to move either backwards or forwards on 
account of the condition of the fly-stricken 
oxen, most of which had died. 

A prolonged stay on the banks of the 
Pungwe was of all things to be avoided. 
Though Mr. Jerram and Dr. Todd had done 
so much to reform the sanitary condition of 
the camp, they could not make it healthy. 
The stagnant creek sent forth pestilential 
exhalations ; the heat was suffocating ; tall, 
rank grass, and groups of the sinister-looking 
" fever trees," kept off every breath of air. 
These " fever trees " are a species of 
mimosa, with pallid boles and livid green 
foliage, and the experienced explorer always 
avoids their neighbourhood. Every night a 
dense fog from the river closed round us, and 
was not dispelled till the sun had been up for 
an hour or two. After the scorching heat, 
the damp misty nights seemed to chill one to 
the bone. 

ioo ADVENTURES chap. 

Nor was it easy to sleep in spite of the 
comfortable stretchers which had been pro- 
vided for us. Our tent, like every other, 
swarmed with rats. They scrambled up and 
down the canvas, constantly falling on our 
beds, and sometimes on our faces. We were 
all of opinion that the wild beasts outside 
were much less terrible than the rats ! At 
that time we believed that neither lion nor 
leopard would venture into a camp. We 
were destined to be rudely undeceived later 
on at Umtali. 

As far as creature comforts were concerned 
there was nothing to complain of, indeed the 
waste and profusion around troubled us not 
a little. Wilkins, who took great care of 
us, had no idea of thrift. The white men 
under him, and even their natives, would 
attack the great pile of stores at all hours of 
the day, and stinted themselves in nothing. 
We resolved to speak to Dr. Glanville as 
soon as he arrived, and request him to put the 
whole of our small encampment on rations. 

Our first letter from the Bishop amused 


us much. It was brought by a " runner," and 
was tied up in a bit of " limbo," and stuck 
into a cleft stick. What a much more 
poetical way of receiving letters than by the 
English penny post ! Not so safe, perhaps — 
but then even poetry has two sides, a wrong 
and a right one, if you choose to examine 
things closely. I remember the Bishop 
telling us afterwards that, as he travelled up 
country, he met several natives who attached 
themselves to his party. One of them had a 
small dirty bundle dangling from the end of 
an assegai. This bundle was always falling 
into swamps, and being fished out of rivers. 
At last the Bishop asked what it was. It 
was Her Majesty's mail! 

To return to our letter, which did not 
seem to have suffered much en route. The 
news from up country was bad, though the 
Bishop had arrived safely at Umtali. He 
said that there was not the slightest chance 

tof waggons or coaches reaching 'M panda's 
for two months, and it seemed improbable 
that they could return to Umtali in less than 

102 ADVENTURES chap. 

two months more. He thought we might 
engage bearers, and have ourselves carried 
up in " machilas " — a sort of hammock slung 
on a pole. 

The state of things in Mashonaland was, 
he told us, unsatisfactory. The worst rainy- 
season known for years had turned the rivers 
into impassable torrents. Miles of veldt 
were nothing but a vast morass. It had 
been almost impossible to get any provisions 
up to Fort Salisbury — none had reached 
Umtali. The Company's Police had been 
living on pumpkins and ground-nuts, until 
Masse- Kesse and its stores had fallen into 
their hands. These stores were nearly at an 
end, and starvation was again threatening. 
The men had suffered a great deal, having 
no change of clothes, and being obliged to 
go on duty and stand or ride for hours in 
soaking rain. Many of them were without 
boots or shoes. Nothing kept these troops, 
as perhaps they may be called, together, but 
the profound conviction that it would all 
come right. " Rhodes would square it." 


I have even heard an excited personage 
declare that, " Rhodes would square the tsetse 
fly." In point of fact, I suppose, he really 
will have " squared " it before long, the 
Beira and Umtali Railway being now nearly 

The day after we received the Bishop's 
letter two men walked up from the Agnes, 
having been put ashore, and having made 
their way along the Pungwe banks. We 
were disappointed that Dr. Doyle Glanville 
was not with them, and we sent a note by 
the Pigeon, explaining that it was fairly easy 
walking, from the spot where the Agnes was 
stuck, to the camp — a distance of from six 
to eight miles. We also sent the Bishop's 
letter to him, that he might be prepared for 
the collapse of the Transport Company. 

Not till Wednesday, the 18th of June, 
did the Doctor arrive in one of the boats 
of the Agnes, leaving that steam-tug, and 
the lighters she was towing, still fast on the 
shoal, with no immediate prospect of getting 
clear of it. At certain times of the year 

io 4 ADVENTURES chap. 

the Pungwe becomes so low, that only 
specially built flat-bottomed boats can navi- 
gate it comfortably. 

Dr. Glanville seemed eager to push on, 
and proposed sending a runner at once to 
the neighbouring kraals, or native villages, 
to see if we could obtain bearers. There 
were a number of these villages round 
'Mpanda's, and we had excited the curiosity 
of the natives, they having never seen a 
white woman. As we breakfasted or 
lunched in our tents, a troop of natives 
would glide silently up to it, squat in a 
semicircle close to the opening, and watch 
us intently. After a few minutes they would 
retire, and give place to others. Every day 
the same thing happened. We began to 
wonder why our meals had a special interest 
for them, since they did not appear to watch 
the white men feeding. At last it was ex- 
plained to us. The natives could not under- 
stand our waists, or how we contrived to 
induce the food to pass our waist -bands. 
They expected, and probably hoped, that 


some terrible catastrophe would ensue. I need 
hardly say that our waists were of the most 
ordinary work-a-day proportions, that we 
wore flannel shirts, and w£re guiltless of stays. 
The afternoon of the Doctor's arrival, 
another letter from the Bishop arrived, re- 
peating what he had said before, and request- 
ing us to go no farther than Umtali. He 
himself was about to push on to Fort 
Salisbury in search of provisions, and he 
begged us to bring as much food -stuff as 
possible with us. 

It being obviously necessary to husband 
our stores as much as possible, the doctor 
drew up a scheme of rations, forbidding any 
one except Wilkins to touch the stores. The 
result was a great disturbance. The white 
men attached to the Mission declared that 
they would neither be "rationed" nor be 
" under " Wilkins ! They had been promised 
home comforts — you could have jam and 
butter at the same meal at home, why not in 
Mashonaland ? One of the men left ; one re- 
tired to his tent like Achilles, and could not be 


pacified. Little Wilson, our East-ender, took 
a more reasonable view, and subsided into 
sullen resignation. 

After all, it must t>e remembered that these 
white men had been entirely uncontrolled 
and unrestricted since the Bishop's departure. 
The authority of old Wilkins was nominal. 
They were not inclined to accept orders from 
any one but the Bishop himself. The Doctor 
did not know how to manage them, and 
Wilkins himself refused to acknowledge his 
authority. It was a very uncomfortable 
phase of our experiences. Dr. Glanville had 
only been in Africa as part of a great 
military organization, which moved him here 
and there like a pawn on a chess-board. 
He had no idea how to move a pawn him- 
self. He was surprised and non-plussed 
when the well-to-do colonial men, who made 
rather a favour of serving the Mission, ob- 
jected to being treated like " Tommy Atkins." 
Old Wilkins became a stumbling-block in our 
way. " Should a man who had been with 
Livingstone be ordered about like this? " 


We sometimes wonder, by-the-by, whether 
old Wilkins had been with Livingstone, he 
told us such incredible stories about him. I 
repeat one of them. 

" One morning, sisters, and 'tis as true as 
I'm a biting this crust, we were surrounded 
by strange niggers — and them niggers meant 
mischief if ever a nigger did. Livingstone 
he says, 'We're lost,' says he; 'we must go 
back and give up. Come here, Wilkins, and 
advise me ! ' And I up and says, ' Give up, 
Doctor ? never ! Let's go and drive 'em 
off.' The Doctor, he looks at me. ' Right 
you are,' he says ; ' lead on, my brave fellow, 
and I'll follow ! ' And as true as I'm a living 
man we slew seventy before breakfast ! " 
Wilkins professed a lordly contempt for the 
Stanley expedition. " If Stanley'd known 
his business he'd have had a man like me to 
manage for him," he was fond of saying. 
By which it will be seen that Livingstone's 
man had an excellent opinion of himself, and 
was not likely to knock under easily to a 
mere tyro such as Dr. Glanville. 

108 ADVENTURES chap. 

"I'm a man to be trusted," he would say, 
with an air of great importance ; " them there 
sisters know what to expect. I'm used to 
the ways of females, and the very night they 
came I says, ' Sisters ! let there be no mistake 
— I'm a married man ! ' This remark amused 
the Doctor hugely. He took great delight 
in leading up to it, and making the old man 
repeat it as often as possible. Poor old 
Wilkins ! Peace be to his ashes ! After 
life's fitful fever, he sleeps tranquilly on the 
wind-swept summit of a lofty crag in far 

Rumours of a terrible state of things in 
Mashonaland flew about our camp. It was 
impossible to say from whence they came, or 
who originated them. Sir John Willoughby, 
in the service of the Chartered Company, 
had repeatedly declared that large stores had 
been taken to Mashonaland, and were distri- 
buted to all the stations through a commis- 
sariat department. We were now assured 
that he had spoken without sufficient founda- 
tion for his assertions. This gentleman, by 


the way, is known in Mashonaland, and 
indeed throughout Africa, as " Monkey- 
Nuts," he having on the march ordered six 
monkey-nuts (or ground-nuts) per man to be 
served out. A ground-nut is about the size 
of a beech-nut. Very likely the story is less 
true than ben trovato. I never met Sir 
John, but, when he was asked to help the 
hospital, a large cheque reached me by 
return of post. Other people were not 
always so prompt. 

Be this as it may, it appeared certain that 
a considerable amount of distress must have 
prevailed in the interior. Even at 'Mpanda's 
the situation began to look serious. The 
traders who had brought up provisions, in 
the fond persuasion, that they could take 
them up to Fort Salisbury in a fortnight, had 
to eat their stores themselves, and sell what 
they could in driblets from day to day. Car- 
penters, builders, workmen of all sorts, who 
had spent their savings on tools and outfits, 
consumed their provisions at 'Mpanda's. 
Then, hopeless and ruined, they wandered 

no AD VENTURES chap. 

back to Beira, and demanded help of the 
Consul, until Captain Pipon had so many of 
them on his hands that he sent a notice to 
the Natal and Cape papers warning people 
not to come up to Beira. But, as the adver- 
tisement of the Road Company had not been 
withdrawn from publication, many still be- 
lieved in the coaches and waggons. They 
came up to judge for themselves, to the ruin 
of health or pocket — often of both. 

We had now been ten days at 'Mpanda's, 
and there appeared no chance of obtaining 
boys. Our patients were more or less con- 
valescent. The sick men were to be sent to 
the coast ; many of the natives had already 
left. Dr. Todd and Mr. Jerram expected to 
be recalled shortly. Both urged us to give 
up an attempt at going farther on. They 
declared we had done more than enough to 
show goodwill and unusual pluck. Would we 
not be contented with that, and return home ? 
Or, if we could not give up our plans at 
once, would we at least go back to Beira ? 
The Pigeon was at our disposal, and every 


effort would be made to make us comfortable 
on board her. 

Dr. Todd declared that if we attempted 
to walk up, it would be at the peril of our 
lives. No women he had known had ever 
walked in Africa; even men found it 
trying, and sometimes died on the way. We 
told our excellent advisers that we could only 
die once, and that dying was just as disagree- 
able in a room as on the veldt. If women 
had never walked in Africa there was no 
reason why they should not begin. Supposing 
that, after a day or two's march, we found it 
impossible to go on, we could turn back with 
less shame and self-reproach than if we had 
made little or no attempt to carry out our 

Dr. Todd, who was somewhat of an 
autocrat on board his ship, waxed angry 
and contemptuous. Who were these nurses 
who dared to dispute his opinion ? He said 
that what we did or did not do was a matter 
of supreme indifference to him. He had 
offered us the only possible advice — we 


would not take it — well, our foolhardiness 
would meet with its just reward. There- 
upon he hurled himself out of our tent. The 
Consul followed meekly, saying he was very 
sorry, shaking hands, and assuring us that 
" Todd meant well ! " 

This episode settled the question of our 
stay at 'Mpanda's much more expeditiously 
than would otherwise have been the case, 
and the very next day we set off with Dr. 
Glanville to Nevez Fereira, a Portuguese 
camp about six miles distant. A trader, 
called Madeira, who lived there was said to 
have great influence with the natives. He 
would perhaps procure bearers for us. But, 
unfortunately ; although Madeira was ex- 
tremely civil, and gave us a capital luncheon ; 
he declared that he could no longer obtain 
natives even for himself. 

Lieutenant Pedro Alvarez, acting Com- 
mandante at 'Mpanda's, joined us at 
luncheon. Like all the Portuguese we 
met in Africa, he had been most kind to us. 
Ever since our arrival at 'Mpanda's he had 


kept us supplied with bread, game, and any- 
other luxury which found its way to his 
camp. We met a Portuguese army-doctor, 
too, and after luncheon he took us to see his 
hospital. Here the sick were established in 
a hospital tent of the most approved fashion, 
ventilated on the best principles, cool even 
on that burning day. It was beautifully 
kept, too, and was altogether a great con- 
trast to the wretched grass hut which served 
as a hospital at 'Mpanda's. 

Though our tramp to Nevez Fereira was 
a failure, as far as obtaining bearers was 
concerned, we were not cast down ; and on 
the way back it was decided that the next 
day Wilkins should start off to a kraal about 
fifty miles distant, and do his utmost to 
secure carriers. He set out early the next 
morning with a well-known explorer called 
Moodie, to whom all parts of Africa seemed 
equally familiar. The same day Mr. Walter 
Sutton joined our party, the men he had 
come up with proving most unsatisfactory. 
Late that same evening the launch of the 


Pigeon arrived to take Mr. Jerram and Dr. 
Todd back to Beira the following day. 

We said good-bye to the Vice -Consul 
with great regret. The Portuguese Com- 
mandante was much disgusted at his having 
to leave. "Who," he exclaimed, "am I to 
treat with now ? there are only traders here 
— with such people I do not speak ! " 
Fortunately the " people " in question did 
not hear this speech, or there would have 
been trouble. As it was, some foolish young 
fellows nearly created a new Portuguese 
question, by hoisting a red pocket handker- 
chief, with a white elephant printed in the 
centre, on the flagstaff from which the Consul 
used to fly his Union Jack. The Com- 
mandante took the foolish joke to mean an 
insult to his flag, and it was all Dr. Glanville 
could do to pacify him. 

The camp now became very untidy and 
rowdy ; and as Lieutenant Pedro Alvarez 
constantly urged our departure, we engaged 
any likely boy we came across, and resolved 
that we would start for the interior with only 


ten boys, without waiting for the return of 

At this juncture Mr. Harrison, a well- 
known prospector, arrived in the camp from 
Fort Salisbury. Hearing of our difficulty, he 
gave us his own three boys, making his way 
to Beira as best he could without them. 
Those who know anything of African travel 
will agree that a more unselfish act was 
never done. He also took the trouble to 
write out a small vocabulary of the most use- 
ful words and phrases in Mashona, and drew 
out a map of the country — marking the best 
halting -places, the distances from water to 
water, and the time we ought to take in 
getting from place to place. Had his 
presence at the coast been less urgently 
needed, he would have turned back and 
escorted us to Umtali. Mr. Harrison was 
emphatically a friend in need. 

Having now nine boys, we resolved to 
start on Tuesday, the 30th of June. We 
spent the morning of the 29th in packing, 
dividing the provisions into loads of forty 

1 16 ADVENTURES chap. 

pounds each, having been told that this was 
the correct weight. Then tired, hungry, but 
hopeful, we sat down to luncheon. 

Suddenly a crowd of natives presented 
themselves at the entrance of our tent. As 
we gazed at them in wonder, their ranks 
opened, and there, in the centre, stood 
Wilkins, leaning on his gun and enjoying 
our surprise. The hero of melodrama does 
not achieve a more effective entrance ! For 
quite five minutes Wilkins refused to do 
more than wave his hand towards his 
followers, and repeat in a sepulchral voice, 
"I'm here." At last we persuaded him to 
come in and have some luncheon, leaving 
the natives to squat outside. 

Gradually Dr. Glanville broke to him the 
fact that he proposed leaving the next day, 
but that he expected Wilkins to remain 
behind in charge of the stores. 

I think the poor old man nearly went out 
of his mind with mortified vanity. He 
wandered about unpacking everything, taking 
out food-stuffs, and filling up the loads with 


saucepan lids. Sister Lucy and I consulted 
together, and came to the conclusion that the 
best thing to do was to leave him quite 
alone ; and, in fact, after a great deal of 
noise and confusion, he retired to his tent 
and went to sleep. 

Just then a man-of-war's launch puffed up 
to the landing-place, bringing the new Vice- 
Consul, Lieutenant Robertson of the Brisk, 
who presently came to our tent, and offered 
us a large supply of oranges for the road. 
He was very cheery about our enterprise, 
declaring that though difficult, and even 
hazardous, it was feasible, and he felt sure 
we should carry it through successfully. 
These were the first hopeful words we had 
heard on the subject, and they did us a 
world of good. 

By the following day the wrath of Wilkins 
had subsided, but now a fresh difficulty arose. 
Dr. Doyle Glanville asked, who had money ? 
"This," he said, throwing two sovereigns 
on the table, " is all the money I possess." 
We nurses had about ^"14 between us. 


There were between thirty -five and forty- 
carriers ; nearly £^o had to be divided 
between them before they would stir. 
Neither the Doctor nor Wilkins had any 
authority from the Bishop to borrow money, 
and no one in camp would lend it on their 
word. Wilkins had given most of his ready 
money to Dr. Knight Bruce, and could only 
spare a small sum. The situation was very 
uncomfortable ; but in our emergency Lieu- 
tenant Robertson came to our aid, lent Dr. 
Glanville ^20, and enabled us to depart. 


The start — A " dug-out " — Missing load — A kraal — Native 
funeral — On the road — Another kraal — Lions — A 
Portuguese breakfast — No water — Captain Winslow — 
We meet two white men — Honey-birds — Lions again 
— Sarmento — A native hunt — Trouble with carriers — 
Forced march — Masse-Kesse — We lose our way — 
Illness of Sister Aimde — At last Umtali — The Bishop. 

We left 'Mpanda's about three o'clock in the 
afternoon, intending to stay a few miles out 
of the camp, so as to start on our walk early 
the next morning, the ist of July. Our 
departure had been delayed in many ways. 
The carriers became troublesome ; some 
rushed off to the canteen to drink, others 
refused to take up their loads. At last we 
three, with Dr. Glanville and seven boys, 
started off, accompanied for the first mile 
or two by the Consul, Mr. Robertson, the 
Portuguese Commandante, and one or two 


other men. Mr. Sutton remained behind 
to drive on the other boys. After about 
an hour's walking we said farewell to our 
friends, and pushed on alone, — not for long, 
however, as the Consul came running after 
us to say we were on the wrong path. We 
had to retrace our steps for a long way. 

By this time the sun was getting low in 
the heavens. In Africa when the sun sets, 
it gets dark almost immediately, there being 
hardly any twilight. We were therefore 
very glad to find ourselves once more on 
the right path, and, soon after, we met Mr. 
Sutton, who had turned back to look for us. 
He told us we should have to cross the 
Pungwe, to get to the kraal where we meant 
to make our first encampment. It was 
almost dark when we reached the river, 
where we found our carriers and their loads 
waiting their turn to cross. This took a 
long time, there being only one little canoe, 
or " dug-out," paddled by a curious shrivelled- 
up old native. The "dug-out" is made 
from the trunk of a tree with the inside 


scooped out. We three got into it, sitting 
very carefully on the edges, there being no 
seats, or even sticks laid across, and it was 
too narrow to admit of our sitting at the 
bottom. We were in mortal terror, and 
almost afraid to breathe, for the least move- 
ment upsets these frail little barks, and the 
river, as we knew, swarmed with crocodiles. 
It was a great relief to be on terra firma 
again, and to watch the rest of our party 

Night had quite set in by this time ; and 
the shadowy line of carriers, standing at 
the water's edge, looked strange and unreal. 
On a high bank above the river we found a 
small kraal, where we began to make pre- 
parations for the night. 

A kraal is a native village, composed of 
either many or few huts, in shape like bee- 
hives, into which you literally crawl on hands 
and knees. The huts are made with a 
framework of wood, the roof covered with 
grass, and the sides plastered with mud. 
The floor also is mud, but beaten into a 

122 ADVENTURES chap. 

smooth, hard surface. The ground outside 
the huts is also beaten into this same hard 

Supper was the first thing to prepare, but 
could not be achieved without lights. We 
hunted through all our bundles, but could 
discover no candles or lanterns. To our 
dismay we found the boy who had charge of 
this load to be missing. There was nothing 
to be done, then, but make the best of it. 
Our boys lighted a fire of mealie stalks and 
dried reeds, there being no wood anywhere 
near. It was not a very good fire, for reeds 
only flare up for a short time, smoulder away, 
and give no heat. We ate a hasty supper of 
corned beef and biscuits with a little coffee ; 
rolled ourselves in our blankets, with a water- 
proof sheet spread over us ; and tried to 
sleep by the fire. To keep it going we had 
to sacrifice a wooden box, and the two men 
undertook to replenish it, but Dr. Glanville 
fell asleep at his post. If it had not been 
for Sister Aimee, who acted as stoker, we 
should have come off very badly. All night 


long we heard the roar of lions in the dis- 
tance, and every now and then the weird cry 
of the hyaenas, which prowled and rustled in 
the mealie field. Towards morning we were 
roused from troubled sleep by frightful yells 
and lamentations, a sort of dismal chant 
broken by long sobbing wails. It was 
really a blood-curdling sound, and for some 
moments we were afraid to move or speak. 
At last, seeing that our natives were paying 
little or no attention to it, we made inquiries, 
and found that one of the inhabitants of the 
kraal had just died, and that his people were 
keening over him, much as mourners do in 
Ireland. As we got up we were requested 
to retire to a distant corner of the kraal, and 
not to cross the path along which the body 
was to be carried. It was borne away in a 
very ingenious sort of wicker - work coffin, 
made of reeds and rushes. 

After some little trouble we secured a 
pail of water, retired into the mealies, and 
made a rapid toilet, whilst the men boiled 
some cocoa. When we had partaken of this 


we could do nothing but wait patiently till 
our missing boy and his load had been found 
— we had been obliged to send a runner back 
to 'Mpanda's to hunt him up. Our diffi- 
culties were a good deal increased by the 
fact that neither Dr. Glanville nor Mr. 
Sutton could speak a word of the language. 
We three knew only just enough to ask for 
water, or a fire, or one or two other things. 
Again it was Sister Aimee who saved the 
situation by being able to talk Portuguese. 
We found to our joy that three or four 
of our carriers were Portuguese speaking 
natives, so these boys acted as interpreters 
between us and the other natives. 

It was quite ten o'clock before we could 
make a real start ; however, once off, we did 
a good day's march over rough, uninteresting 
ground. We halted for a few minutes every 
hour or so, walking on these Kaffir paths 
being very tiring. They are so narrow, and 
the grass on either side so tall, that there 
might easily be a number of people a few 
yards in front of you, and yet you might 


walk for hours quite unaware of their 

At the first large kraal that we came to, 
all the village turned out to look at us, we 
being the first white women they had seen. 
They presented us with a large jar of 
"chuali," or native beer, which our carriers 
drank, and in return we gave them some 
beads. It is not considered etiquette to pass 
through any of these native villages without 
giving the chief a present of some kind — 
a few u beads " or a stretch of " limbo " will 
do. A stretch is measured by holding out 
both arms as far as you can, and measuring 
from finger-tip to finger-tip. Roughly speak- 
ing, one gives about two yards. With this 
we could buy a good deal of meal from 
natives, who preferred it to money. 

Soon after we left this kraal we found the 
path very rough, and the walking difficult ; 
the heat also became intense ; and, being 
unused to marching, we began to get very 
weary. At about three o'clock we came to 
another large village, and found, to our 

126 AD VENTURES chap. 

regret, that the natives would go no farther, 
and that we should have to spend the night 
there. These kraals are very dirty and 
noisy. After a delightful bath in the 
Pungw6, during which we kept in shallow 
water looking out for crocodiles, we felt 
much revived, and set to work and cooked 
quite a splendid dinner of eggs and fowl 
procured from the natives. Our boys made 
a sort of "lean-to" with a few poles, grass, 
and their loads. We had a fairly good 
night, but found the ground very hard ; and 
the lions were so near, that we could hear 
the pig-like grunt they make when they are 
hunting. By this time we were so accus- 
tomed to them that we were much less 
terrified of them, and almost began to look 
upon them as bores that kept one awake 
when one was sleepy. 

The next morning we got off fairly early. 
The men were very lazy, and we had to 
rouse them always, get breakfast ready, and 
start the camp. Our path led us across 
the Pungwe again, but this time we were 


each carried over on the shoulders of two 
boys, the ford not being deep. The other 
boys plunged in, making a great noise, 
shouting, and beating the water, to frighten 
away the crocodiles. A Portuguese hut was 
built on the opposite bank, and here an 
agent of the Mozambique Company lived. 
Like all Portuguese he was extremely kind 
and courteous, and gave us an excellent 
breakfast. After leaving the hut we had 
a long march of about fifteen miles without 
water. The track crossed a burnt-up plain, 
and then lost itself in a long stretch of loose 
sand, where at every step forward one 
seemed to slip two back. Trying as it is 
to walk through grass that is ten feet high, 
coarse, strong, slashing your face as you 
push your way through, we were glad when 
we came to patches of it, because of the 
slender shade it afforded. Like all novices 
at such work, we had, early in the day, 
impatiently drained the water bottles. Then 
came some hours during which we suffered 
considerably from thirst before we reached 


any water. This we did late in the after- 
noon, when we came upon some rude 
bamboo huts beside a dismal swamp. Cap- 
tain Winslow, of H.M.S. Brisk, whom we 
met shortly after leaving the Portuguese 
hut, had slept there the night before, and 
had had one of the huts cleaned out, so 
that, after the floor was covered with a pile 
of fresh grass, we found it very comfortable. 
In the other shelter a young Englishman 
was dining. We confiscated his coffee, drink- 
ing it up in the twinkling of an eye. No 
coffee has ever tasted or ever could taste 
like that. We longed for water, but dared 
not touch it till it had been boiled. Even 
when made into tea it tasted of swamp. 
This young Englishman, whose coffee we 
absorbed, was on his way up country. He 
seemed to have suffered a good deal from 
fever, and was even then light-headed. The 
friend who was travelling with him had 
followed a honey-bird, and soon came back 
to the hut with the honey in a sort of palm- 
leaf basket. The honey- bird is a curious 


little creature, something like a water-wag- 
tail. It comes fluttering about a man till 
he follows it, and then it leads him to some 
hollow tree, or cleft in a rock, which is full 
of honey. It seems to know that, without 
the help of man, it cannot obtain the spoil 
it covets. When the combs are rifled, one 
is always left for the little feathered guide ; 
otherwise, the natives say, it will never 
again lead anyone to a bees' nest. We 
saw numbers of these honey -birds, but of 
course could not follow them. 

The night spent in this shelter might 
have been passed outside a lion's cage in 
the Zoo. The lions, coming down to drink 
at the swampy pool just in front of our huts, 
made such a terrific noise that the earth 
seemed to shake with their roaring. It was 
a strange sensation to find ourselves so near 
all these wild creatures, with not even the 
slenderest door or mat to shut them out of 
our hut. In the morning the spoor of an 
elephant was seen, which the young fellow 
who had followed the honey-bird spoored, 


and shot a few hours later. His name was 
Carrick, one of our model patients later on 
at Umtali, and still a valued friend. 

The next morning we were up at the 
dawn of day, reaching Sarmento early in 
the afternoon. Our path lay through a 
beautiful park -like country, with big trees 
dotted about, and here and there great 
clumps of palm-trees. We passed many 
herd of game, great buffaloes quietly grazing, 
who stood and looked at us, but hardly took 
the trouble to move out of our way, and 
troops of every kind of deer — wildebeest, 
hartebeest, water-buck, etc. The men who 
were with us evidently knew little about 
shooting. Several futile attempts were made 
to get a buck, but the guns either went off 
unexpectedly, or else refused to go off at 
all. The natives, who are very keen sports- 
men, lost all patience, threw down their 
bundles, and proceeded to hunt a buffalo on 
their own account, and succeeded in killing 
him with their assegais after some little time. 
Then, covered with blood, they trotted after 


us to Sarmento, with great lumps of gory 
flesh tied on to their bundles. The Bishop's 
bag, containing his robes, was not spared, 
and his spotless lawn was deeply stained. 

Sarmento is nearly forty-five miles from 
'Mpanda's ; we reached it in about two days 
and a half. It was not such bad walking 
as English people might think. Time must 
be allowed for fording streams, and getting 
through swamps and long grass ; and the 
great heat must also be taken into account. 
Like most Portuguese villages, Sarmento 
was very dirty, but it is a lovely spot, 
situated on a high plateau, embedded in 
trees, with the broad Pungwe rushing below, 
dashing over great rocks, with trees droop- 
ing over the water. We found the Portu- 
guese extremely civil. Mr. Almaida, the 
Mozambique Company's agent, kindly placed 
his own hut at our disposal, sending us wine, 
eggs, candles, etc., and doing all he could 
to make us comfortable. 

The next day we were off betimes, all 
much refreshed by the rest. We began now 

132 ADVENTURES chap. 

to feel a little uneasy about our carriers, for 
we knew that their own kraal lay somewhere 
near at hand. We had been warned that we 
should experience no little difficulty in getting 
them past this place. They left Sarmento 
at a tremendous pace, with a good deal of 
singing and shouting. About ten o'clock 
we arrived at a large kraal, and here, to our 
consternation, the bearers insisted on staying 
all day. It was their own home, and no 
inducement could tear them away. The 
wily "induna," or captain, hid in the woods, 
and could not be found till nightfall. So 
we had to spend the interval as best we 
could, bathing in the river, and wandering 
in the wood. 

All the men and women in this village 
came and scraped their feet against the 
ground in front of us — a native mode of 
salutation — and we gave the usual present 
of beads or limbo. Then there came some 
very old women with baskets of lovely white 
meal, which they laid at Sister Aimee's feet. 
This, I believe, is considered rather an 


unusual honour, for as a rule the natives 
are very chary of giving away meal, which 
constitutes their principal food. Towards 
dusk the chief reappeared and demanded 
blankets for all his boys. Dr. Glanville 
became very angry and drove him off. In 
consequence of this we had a sleepless night. 
For the Doctor and Mr. Sutton — being 
afraid the boys would not only run away, 
but might attack us — sat up all night with 
loaded guns, a demonstration not a little 
alarming to us, considering that neither of 
them appeared to know much about fire- 
arms. However, nothing happened, but the 
next morning the induna came with his men, 
and laid all the money received from us down 
at Sister Aimee's feet, declaring they would 
go no farther. After a very long talk they 
consented to proceed on condition of re- 
ceiving extra blankets at Masse- Kesse. The 
fact that none of us could talk to them in 
their own language left us at a great dis- 
advantage. The whole party depending on 
Sister Aimee's small knowledge of Portu- 


guese, we could not feel sure that our 
Portuguese native translated our wishes 
faithfully. The white men of our party 
lost much prestige with the carriers through 
being unable to give them any orders. 
These wild natives do not understand beine 
commanded by women, who as a rule 
represent to them nothing but the chief 
domestic animal, intended only for hewing 
wood, carrying water, grinding corn, and 
so on. 

Once off, the boys went splendidly through 
a lovely bit of country, full of tall palms, 
banana trees, and great groves of feathery 
bamboos. Pretty as it was we were anxious 
to get through it as quickly as we could ; for 
a white traveller, who had given us a plan of 
the country, had written against this place 
two ominous words, " Ware lions." 

The next two days were wet and rather 
miserable. We got soaked to the skin as 
we walked through the long, wet grass. 
The boys too went badly, wanting to stop 
at every opportunity. We had great diffi- 


culty in starting them at all in the mornings. 
We could not get properly dry at night, for 
the fires burnt badly on account of the rain. 
The rude grass shelters that the boys put 
up for us to sleep in at night were hardly 
water-tight. Hyaenas made night hideous, 
coming quite close to our little camp. I 
think the shriek these animals utter is more 
objectionable than the cry of any other wild 
beast. It fills one with shuddering horror, 
and is more like the wail of a lost soul than 
a mere earthly sound. 

We met two white men the next morning 
returning to 'M panda's with a letter from the 
Bishop, who was terribly in want of stores. 
This acted as a kind of spur, and we pushed 
on with renewed energy. Soon the sun 
came out, and we reached Mandanjiva, a 
deserted Portuguese village, perfectly dry, 
and again in good spirits. Here we had a 
delightful bathe ; and tried to settle down for 
the night in a dirty, huge, barn-like shelter, 
open on all sides but one. However, the 
hyaenas drove away sleep by their terrible 


noise, and even went so far as to sniff round 
our barn. We were not sorry, therefore, 
when morning dawned, and we could hasten 
away from this dreary place. 

Now the road became dreadful. There 
were hours of walking through grass ten 
feet high ; through tall rushes that slashed 
one's face ; through small bogs and shallow 
streams into which we dashed, boots and all, 
much to the delight of the boys, but to the 
horror of our white escort. However, the 
sun dries one almost at once, and it saved 
endless time. Here and there we met un- 
fortunate young fellows who had had the 
fever ; had tried to reach Fort Salisbury ; but, 
alas ! had been obliged to turn back, and were 
then on their way down to the coast, ill and 
half ruined. They gave us terrible accounts 
of the state of things up country, and ap- 
peared to look on us as half mad for 
attempting to go on. We gave them pro- 
visions, and sped them on their way. 

All went well with us till we reached 
Chimoio, a large kraal and Portuguese 


station. Here the Bishop had been nearly 
shot, being taken for a Portuguese officer. 
Mr. Fiennes, who was commanding the 
Chartered Company's Police, happily recog- 
nised him in time. The Bishop's arrival 
prevented a fight between the Portuguese 
and Company's people. He told them that 
the convention between England and Por- 
tugal had been signed. The kraal of 
Chimoio was situated in the midst of a 
lovely country with wooded hills, great 
rocks and crags all round. The natives here 
seemed much less friendly, and we had 
considerable difficulty in buying a fowl from 
them for supper. We tried to obtain a 
runner to send on to Umtali, to announce 
our near approach to the Bishop, who 
thought of us as still being at 'Mpanda's ; 
but this we were unable to do. 

Retiring to rest between ten and eleven, 
we were roused by our faithful Portuguese 
speaking boys, with the terrible announce- 
ment that all the carriers had fled. Having 
built us a shelter, these four boys, who 


proudly called themselves "the household 
servants," had gone to sleep in a little hut 
close by. Waking to make up the fire, 
they had seen the last of our carriers vanish- 
ing in the distance. Dr. Glanville and 
Mr. Sutton immediately started in pursuit, 
but of course never even caught a glimpse of 
the fleet natives. There we were stranded 
with four boys, seventy miles from Umtali, 
surrounded by our stores and no means of 
taking them with us ! It is bad enough for 
men to be abandoned on the veldt : for 
women, of course, it was worse. 

At first we felt rather miserable, but 
lamentations were useless. What was to be 
done ? that was the question. A council 
was held, and it was decided that Dr. 
Glanville, ourselves, and three boys, should 
push on to Umtali, leaving Mr. Sutton with 
one boy to look after the stores till we could 
send and rescue him. After this was settled 
we composed ourselves as best we could for 
the few remaining hours that were left before 
daylight. A few necessaries were hastily 


packed — we left most of our blankets behind 
us — and with three days' biscuits, beef, and 
tea, set out for Umtali on the 4th of July. 
Just as we were leaving the village we came 
across a camp of white men, who had arrived 
during the night, and who proceeded to 
Umtali a few hours after ourselves. They 
all turned out to stare at us, saying it was 
wonderful we should have got so far, but 
shaking their heads at the idea of our reach- 
ing Umtali in four days' time. Defying 
their predictions, we went on, and kept up a 
really good pace all day, halting for the night 
in a lovely wood, where we had a delicious 
bath in an ice-cold mountain stream. We 
found the ground somewhat hard, having so 
few blankets, but in spite of this we passed a 
tolerably good night. 

The next morning we made an early start, 
and after about an hour's walk found our- 
selves in a terrible swamp. The boys and 
their loads got through with difficulty, and 
then came back to carry us over the worst 
places, into which they sank sometimes above 

140 ADVENTURES chap. 

their waists. It was an unpleasant experience, 
some of these bogs being like quicksands, 
swallowing unfortunate people alive. We 
heard afterwards that two boys had been lost 
there that year. However, we all got 
through safely, and went on climbing over 
mountain sides, even wading through deep 
streams so as not to wear out our three 
already heavily-laden boys by making them 
carry us across. At nightfall we found our- 
selves outside Masse- Kesse. We were told 
that this walk from Chimoio to Masse- Kesse 
was then the quickest on record, so we were 
inclined to give ourselves great airs, as of 
" African travellers." However, we cer- 
tainly seemed to have got over the ground 
more quickly than the average man did in 
those early days, which was very creditable. 

Just before reaching Masse- Kesse we 
met a Mr. Paterson. He too brought us a 
note from the Bishop, in which he said how 
much he should like to see us, but how im- 
possible it seemed to get us up to our des- 
tination. Mr. Paterson was much astonished 


to see us with only three boys, no tents, no 
machilas — in fact, it was difficult to make him 
believe that we were alone, and had not a 
trail of carriers somewhere behind in the 

Masse-Kesse was a red earth fort, stand- 
ing on a small eminence in the midst of 
lovely surroundings. I believe this fort was 
well built, and imagined as a defence against 
natives, but it could be of no use against 
Europeans. As we saw it, the walls were 
partly battered down, and over the great en- 
trance there still remained a big V. R., which 
the English had put up and the Portuguese 
had not removed. The country round was 
lovely. On the horizon one saw a semicircle 
of mountains, the nearer ones wooded to the 
summit ; whilst beyond one caught a glimpse 
of blue, rocky peaks melting away into the 
distance. The plain was covered with tall 
waving grass, and it was only on closer in- 
spection that one saw how rank and coarse 
it was. At a distance it might fairly well 
have been taken for corn-fields or hay- 


meadows before the harvest. I have been 
told that hundreds of years ago monks 
lived at Masse- Kesse, who planted orange 
trees and lemon groves, the fruit of which 
we still eat in this nineteenth century of 

We found the Commandante at Masse- 
Kesse exceedingly civil ; which was more 
than we had any right to expect, considering 
how the Portuguese had been treated by the 
English. He kindly sent one of his own 
boys over to Umtali, a distance of eighteen 
miles, to warn the Bishop of our very un- 
expected arrival. We hoped by this means 
to save him from inconvenience. 

After quitting the fort we lost our way, and 
had to encamp in a wood early in the after- 
noon, whilst our boys went to a kraal some 
miles distant to obtain what information they 
could about the way to Umtali. The next 
day we set off early, and hoped to reach our 
destination after a few hours' walking. We 
were obliged to make a forced march, because 
our provisions had run short. There was 


indeed nothing left but a little tea and half 
a pot of bovril. 

This was the hardest day of all. A bad 
rocky path ; hill after hill to climb ; valleys 
and ravines to cross; burning heat; and, worst 
of all, for some hours we could find no water. 
Even the boys, who seem made of iron, began 
to lag. As to Sister Aim6e she looked half 
dead. I was terribly anxious about her, 
feeling sure she must have fever, for, as I 
took her hand, her skin seemed to burn me. 
When we did finally reach Umtali her tem- 
perature was 105 . Those of my readers 
who have had even a slight touch of fever 
will know better than I can tell them what 
she must have suffered, whilst forcing herself 
along in that condition. At last we came to 
a small stream, where we bathed our faces, 
rinsing out our mouths, as we did not dare 
to drink much in our heated state. Much 
refreshed, we longed to light a fire and make 
some bovril, but there was no wood to be 
found anywhere near, so we had to go on. 
After another couple of hours' walking, we 


came to a larger stream in a grove of 
bananas, and here we halted and made 
some soup. This reviving us somewhat, 
we felt able to make a fresh effort. Then 
there were more hills to climb, more valleys 
and ravines to cross, interspersed with long 
stretches of tall grass, which after a time 
had a most bewilderingly dizzy effect. At 
last, towards sunset, Dr. Glanville descried 
a distant flag — Umtali ! The sight of that 
flag gave us new spirit. We now felt sure 
we were on the right road, which before had 
seemed very doubtful, — our Portuguese boy 
never being able to say anything more re- 
assuring than, " It appears that it may be 
the right road ; it appears that it may not 
be." Half an hour's quick marching brought 
us to a small river. As Sister Aimee was 
scrambling over a fallen tree, which served 
as a bridge, a hand was suddenly stretched 
out to help her. It was the Bishop ! He 
looked extremely well, and welcomed us 
warmly. He had only received our note an 
hour or two before, and was preparing his 


hut for us. He was horrified to find Sister 
Aimee so ill ; indeed, by this time it was all 
we could do to get her up the steep hill, on 
the top of which the Bishop was then stay- 
ing. To my great joy I found I could give 
her half a cup of milk, this being the first 
time for many weeks that we had seen fresh 
milk. The next few days passed like a 
horrible nightmare. Fever even when one 
has every convenience is unpleasant enough. 
But a bad attack in the wilds of Africa, with 
nothing to mitigate it, only the hard earth to 
lie on, and insufficient blankets, is something 
not easily forgotten. For many days Sister 
Aimee gave us cause for grave anxiety, but 
as soon as she had turned the corner she 
quickly recovered. 


Sabi Ophir — Illness of Dr. Glanville — Dr. Lichfield — 
Lieutenant Eustace Fiennes — No boots — High prices 
— Maquaniqua the queen — Arrival of Mr. Sutton — 
Holy Communion — Captain Heany — Sad death of 
Dr. Glanville — Site of the Mission farm — Appearance 
of Colonel Pennefather. 

The huts in which we were now established 
belonged to a Mr. Campion, the manager of 
the Sabi Ophir Mining Company. They 
were square and small. We three nurses 
occupied one, which had been rudely divided 
into two ; Mr. Campion a still smaller one ; 
the Bishop a third. Dr. Glanville was ac- 
commodated in a tent. The encampment 
was perched on the top of a steep, rocky hill, 
and in the space in front of the huts an 
enormous tree of the fig species spread forth 
its branches. This was the only large tree 
in the whole district, and Sabi Ophir Hill 



was known to the natives as the " hill of the 
great tree." 

As soon as Sister Aimee was sufficiently 
recovered to admit of any work being done 
in the hut, our host set his boys to work, and 
caused rude stretchers to be put up for us. 
These were composed of a rough framework* 
attached to poles driven into the earth, along 
which branches were tied, so as to form a 
rough kind of lattice work. Over this a few 
bundles of grass were laid, and, lo ! you had 
a bed ! It was much pleasanter to sleep on 
one of these stretchers than on the floor, as 
one could escape from the ants, and in some 
degree from the rats. It was not, however, 
the perfection of comfort, as one woke up 
every morning bruised and aching, and 
covered from head to foot with a neat im- 
pression of the lattice work on which one 
had lain. The Bishop had his air-bed with 
him, and kindly lent it to Sister Aimee for 
the days when she was at the worst, and 
she found it a great comfort. 

The forced march from Chimoio to Um- 

148 ADVENTURES chap. 

tali had told on Dr. Glanville, so Dr. Knight 
Bruce gave him two days' rest before send- 
ing him back with carriers to relieve Mr. 
Sutton. He started on the return journey 
on Friday, the 17th of July, but, to our sur- 
prise and dismay, he returned unexpectedly 
on the following Monday, in a strangely 
exhausted condition, and unable to give any 
account of himself. One native was with him, 
and explained that " the white man " had 
fallen ill, had halted at a kraal, had sent the 
carriers on to Chimoio's, and had remained 
lying down and " talking foolish " till that 
morning. The Doctor was still inclined to 
" talk foolish," and was in a very strange 
condition both physically and mentally. 

The Bishop sent over to the Police camp 
for Dr. Lichfield, who arrived shortly after. 
He pronounced Dr. Glanville to be "very 
tired," which was obvious, and ordered feed- 
ing up and rest. To rest was easy, to be 
fed up difficult. We had nothing but the 
Chartered Company's musty meal and fly- 
stricken ox. The latter luxury often failed 


us, nor was it, at its best, tempting. Again 
Mr. Campion came to the rescue with fowls 
and a few eggs, so that in a day or so our 
patient was sufficiently improved to discuss 
future plans with the Bishop. 

The result of the discussion was that Dr. 
Glanville severed his connection with the 
Mission, and, having some acquaintances in 
the Police camp, appealed to them for the 
means of going on to Salisbury. 

Foremost amongst these friends was 
Lieutenant Eustace Fiennes, brother of the 
present Lord Saye and Sele, whom we came 
to regard as a sort of special providence. 
He saved us as far as possible from the 
inevitable difficulties that beset inexperienced 
pioneers like ourselves, and was invariably 
kind, courteous, and helpful— to say nothing of 
being a very jolly young fellow and excellent 
company. Nothing, indeed, could have ex- 
ceeded the kindness of both officers and men 
of the Chartered Company's Police. We take 
this opportunity of thanking them individu- 
ally and collectively for all they did for us. 

150 ADVENTURES chap. 

Meanwhile we heard nothing about the 
hospital, and, after waiting a little for the 
Bishop to speak, we at last asked him what 
had been settled. He said that he had been 
to Salisbury, and, having seen the Adminis- 
trator, had decided not to open a Mission 
hospital, but to establish us in one which the 
Company would build. He had, accom- 
panied by Mr. Duncan, the Surveyor-General, 
chosen a spot near the site of his own Mission 
farm, and here the Chartered Company would 
put up wattle and daub buildings as soon as 

For the moment we could not go and see 
this site ; for, having been unable to bring 
much luggage from Chimoio, and hoping 
that Mr. Sutton would be able to engage 
boys and follow us immediately, we had 
merely taken food and blankets with us. 
We were in consequence shoeless, the last 
three days of rough and rapid marching hav- 
ing almost torn our boots off our feet, though 
they had been in excellent condition as far as 
Chimoio. What I called " boots " consisted 


of a collection of rags bound to my feet with 
bandages. Sisters Lucy Sleeman and B. 
Welby were in much the same condition. 
We could not explore the country, or do 
more than potter about in front of our huts. 

Just before our arrival a trader had made 
his way to Umtali from Fort Salisbury. He 
brought some provisions, but no candles. 
At that time of year the sun sets at about 
six o'clock, darkness descends on the earth 
immediately, and it does not become light 
again till nearly seven in the morning. The 
long hours of darkness, during which we 
lived in an enforced state of idleness, were 
very trying. In the Police camp "one 
farthing dip " was sold for a guinea. Some- 
times this treasure was raffled for — the for- 
tunate seller exacting money down, and the 
right to sit with the candle. Mr. Fiennes 
contrived to send us two or three, which 
were made to last for weeks. 

One morning a Mashona queen, aunt of 
MTassa, the kinglet of Manica, came to see 
us. She was a powerful chieftainess, owning 

152 ADVENTURES chap. 

sway over many kraals in the valley watered 
by the Revue river, and stretching away 
from Umtali towards Masse-Kesse. At the 
battle of Chua, before referred to, she brought 
her natives to fight for the Chartered Com- 
pany, and led them herself; and when they 
ran away, as Mashonas generally do, smashed 
in with her battle-axe the heads of as many 
runaways as she could catch. She herself 
remained under fire with the utmost com- 
posure. Her name was Maquaniqua. The 
" Queen " stalked up to the great fig-tree 
before our door, and squatted under it, send- 
ing a man, bearing her curious battle-axe of 
black wood elaborately inlaid with brass, to 
announce her arrival to us. Another native 
brought presents to us. These were some- 
what unworthy of a great potentate, consist- 
ing as they did of a basket of meal, two eggs, 
and six sweet potatoes. It was clearly a 
case of accepting the will for the deed ! 

Maquaniqua was a fine specimen of 
animal humanity, with a splendid coarse 
physique, and an ugly, brutal face. She 


accepted tea, passing her mug, after drink- 
ing, to the two men who sat behind her. 
These were two of her husbands. We were 
told that she had several, whom she divorced 
or knocked on the head as seemed most 
convenient. Curiously enough, in the kraals 
governed by a chieftainess the other women 
are in a state of, if possible, more abject sub- 
jection than when under the rule of a chief. 
The men seem to revenge on their wives 
the respect they are forced to show to their 

Maquaniqua, at first interesting and amus- 
ing, soon became an awful bore. We could 
not get rid of her. When the tea, jam, and 
cookies were finished, when she had delivered 
a message from M'Tassa to the effect that 
the " white women " were welcome, though 
he was too great # personage to pay them a 
visit, we hoped she would go. Not at all ! 
She demanded ''fire-water," and was much 
disappointed at not receiving any. Then 
she took a fancy to a bright tin plate — all 
our plates were tin, bright, new, and glitter- 


ing, therefore like silver. Should we sacrifice 
a precious plate, and so deliver ourselves 
from this swarthy incubus ? We consulted 
together, and finally decided on presenting 
the plate, with an intimation that, after so 
splendid a present, the white women would 
not consider her polite if she remained. One 
of the Mission natives who could speak 
English interpreted. Our intimation had the 
desired effect. A German master of the 
ceremonies is not a greater stickler for 
etiquette than an African chief or chief- 
tainess. As Maquaniqua got up to leave, 
her escort, clapping their hands in token of 
respect, trotted away ; the chieftainess strid- 
ing after them, having first handed her plate 
to one of her husbands to carry, and giving 
the other a little packet of brown sugar 
which she had obtained from us. 

That same day Mr. Sutton arrived from 
Chimoio, greatly to our delight. The poor lad 
had been very ill indeed with fever, and while 
he was lying in a state of extreme exhaustion 
some white men came into the wretched 


shelter in which he lay, pronounced him to 
be "doosid dicky," and not likely to "pull 
out," and forthwith — after helping themselves 
to food, his knife, his kettle, and any other 
appliance they required — left him to his fate. 
Fortunately the carriers from Umtali arrived 
the next day, and in a short time he was on 
his legs again. He very pluckily set out for 
Umtali, almost as soon as he could stand. 
It is astonishing how quickly that African 
fever prostrates a man, and with what equal 
rapidity he recovers — or dies — as the case 
may be. This is perhaps true only of its 
first attacks. Later on, when a man is 
saturated with malaria, he seems unable to 
shake off the fever. The recurrences are 
slight, but persistent, and it is then that 
complications arise and health is completely 

The day after Mr. Sutton's arrival was 
Sunday, and the Bishop held a celebration. 
We were at our wit's end to arrange for this 
ceremony, which was to take place in the hut 
where the Bishop slept, and where there was 


a rough table made of reeds and boughs of 
trees. With a little white limbo we con- 
trived to make this look presentable, but 
there was neither chalice nor patten. What 
were we to do ? We had one or two battered 
enamelled tin mugs to drink out of, supple- 
menting deficient tea-cups with empty cocoa- 
tins. These, of course, were not to be 
thought of. On our consulting the Bishop, 
he suggested that a metal cup belonging to a 
flask in which brown sugar used to appear 
might do. Nothing else being available we 
turned out the sugar, polished the cup to the 
utmost, and reluctantly placed it on the 
improvised communion table. To such 
straits is a missionary bishop sometimes 
reduced ! 

On Monday Dr. Knight Bruce left Sabi 
Ophir to go and live at the spot selected for 
his farm, where he had had some huts put up. 
Mr. Sutton accompanied him, volunteering 
his services till such time as the Mission 
could fill the vacancy left by Dr. Glanville. 
This gentleman had found a friend in need 


in the person of Captain Heany of the Road- 
Making Company, better known as the 
leader of the Mashonaland Pioneers, whose 
entry into the hitherto unexplored country 
had paved the way for the British South 
Africa Company's Police. 

This pioneer captain was ever ready to 
stretch a helping hand to those in need. 
Indeed, his reckless generosity finally some- 
what crippled his resources, which, though 
large, were not unlimited. He hailed from 
Virginia, owned kinship with Edgar Allan 
Poe, and, under the somewhat rough exterior 
of a pioneer, concealed refined tastes and un- 
expected culture. He was, deservedly, one 
of the most popular men in Mashonaland. 
To him everyone went for help or advice ; 
and, wherever he built his hut, a rude village 
was certain to spring up in a few days. 
Captain Heany, then, supplied Dr. Glanville 
with food, money, and boys ; and also pro- 
cured for him the charge of Sir John Wil- 
loughby's horses, which had to be sent to 
Salisbury. By this means it was hoped that 

158 ADVENTURES chap. 

the Doctor would reach his destination safely, 
without undue fatigue. 

He came to bid us farewell before leaving, 
and seemed in better health and spirits than 
he had been since we left 'Mpanda's. We 
were never destined to meet again, for the 
poor fellow died by the roadside within a few 
miles of Salisbury. No white man was with 
him during his last moments, nor is anything 
known of them. Of his three boys, two 
remained with him. The third went on to 
Salisbury ; reported his death ; and guided 
Dr. Rand, of the Company's Police, and Mr. 
Hay to the spot. They found that Dr. 
Glanville must have been dead for more than 
a day. He lay rolled in his blankets, the boys 
squatting by a fire at a little distance. The 
horses were tied up close at hand. There 
was no food in the bundles, though he had left 
Umtali well supplied. They buried him where 
he lay, a blazed tree marking his last resting- 
place. The news of his death did not reach 
Umtali for a considerable time. Those were 
not the days of rapid communication. 


To return to Manica. One of our first 
expeditions was to see the projected site of 
the hospital — a distance of about two miles 
from Sabi Ophir across the veldt. 

Descending from our eyrie, and crossing 
by a slippery pole a rapid torrent which 
rushed at the foot of the hill, we wound 
along, passing beneath the height on which 
the Police camp was pitched. The Bishop 
was with us, and he was amused to see all 
the natives who were working in the camp 
tear madly down the slope with a view of 
catching a glimpse of the " m'lungas," or 
white women. Their masters rushed out too, 
ostensibly to recall their boys, but possibly 
with a desire to see what the new importa- 
tions were like. I think at that time there 
were over two hundred police in Manica, and 
we had only made acquaintance with a few of 

Leaving the camp behind we hastened on 
after our guide ; crossed one or two streams 
on stepping-stones ; climbed a height or two, 
and at last found ourselves on the summit 


of a grassy slope, backed by towering rocks 
and thick bush, where our huts were to be 
built. Already poles and grass for one hut 
were cut and ready for use. 

The hill on which we stood commanded 
a splendid view of the grassy plains of the 
long narrow valley, rolling away in park-like 
stretches, and broken here and there by a 
clump of trees, or a pile of gigantic granite 
boulders called " kopjes." Though we could 
not catch the glint of water, a long line of 
thick, dwarf bush, winding like a serpent 
along the valley, betrayed the course of the 
river. Hills, piled up tier upon tier — some 
thickly wooded, some bare and rocky — shut 
in the horizon. Truly Manica is a fair land 
and a goodly heritage, which he who once 
held would be very loth to let go, and is well 
worth a fight. African travellers declare it 
to be one of the most beautiful spots on the 
Dark Continent. A sort of tropical Switzer- 
land, its rich gold-fields are perhaps the least 
of its attractions. But the dragon which 
must be overcome, before its wealth and 


beauty can be enjoyed, is the fever, which 
civilisation will soon make short work of. 
When the railway unites Manicaland to the 
coast, good food and sufficient clothing will 
be within reach of every one ; huts will give 
place to water-tight houses; and the long, 
rank grass will vanish before the increasing 
population. In those days very little will be 
heard of malarial fever, and the Utopian 
dreams of farmer and miner will probably 
be more than realised. It is impossible 
to travel through these immense fertile 
solitudes, without a feeling of intense 
wonder and regret that so many thousands 
of human beings should live, their whole 
lives herded together in the pestilential 
slums of European cities. Karma — un- 
doubtedly a clear case of Karma ! 

The quasi - civilisation of Johannesburg 
and Kimberley had not initiated us into 
the difficulties of pioneer life, though our 
experiences in those places were useful in 
many ways. We were delighted with the 
place of our future abode, and looked for- 



ward, without arriere pens^e, to opening a 
hospital there. 

It was Mr. Fiennes who first raised a 
note of alarm. He told us that the innocent- 
looking brook we had slipped over so easily 
became a raging river during the rains. It 
would cut off the hospital from all com- 
munication with the Police camp for days 
together. The only doctor in the place 
lived in the camp, it must be remembered, 
and all our provisions came from there. Mr. 
Fiennes added that the "doctor's assistant," 
of whom we had heard, existed only on 
paper. It would be quite impossible, he 
said, for three women to live alone on that 
hill, two miles from the doctor or from any 
help whatsoever. If a patient were taken 
worse at night, we could send no message to 
Dr. Lichfield till morning. Not a native would 
ever be induced to cross the veldt at night ; nor 
would it be fair to ask it in a country where wild 
beasts were plentiful. I n the in terests of future 
patients we must make a stand, and refuse to 
have our hospital on the site chosen for it. 


Here was indeed a dilemma ! We clearly 
saw the force of Mr. Fiennes's reasons, 
but we did not see how to get matters 
remedied. We laid the case before the 
Bishop, but he explained that he could not 
interfere in the matter. It was, he said, 
entirely a question for the Company to 
decide. Still he would not disapprove of 
our efforts to obtain more suitable arrange- 
ments. He would even help us indirectly. 
Then began a sort of game of battledore and 
shuttlecock. A. referred us and our pro- 
testations to B., B. to C, C. sent us back 
to A., and nothing was done. At last our 
excellent host, Mr. Campion, suggested an 
appeal to Captain Heany. 

Eagerly catching at any advice which 
seemed reasonable, and knowing Captain 
Heany's influence to be very great, we set off 
to his camp that very afternoon, and asked 
his counsel and help. Both were given very 
readily, and at a word from him quite a 
commotion was created in the country. The 
diggers and traders unanimously agreed that 


they would have nothing to do with the 
proposed hospital if it were placed on that 
spot, and would if necessary build one for 
themselves. A subscription list was opened, 
and a considerable sum was sent to us the 
next day. 

Just at that time Colonel Pennefather, 
of the Inniskillings, who was commanding 
the Chartered Company's Police, came from 
Salisbury to Umtali, and made a pilgrimage 
to our camp on Sabi Ophir Hill. We found 
him delightful to deal with. With the 
prompt decision of a soldier he had the 
vexed question settled in a day, and it was 
resolved that we should occupy a small 
encampment close to the Police lines. Hos- 
pital huts would be built near it, and in two 
or three weeks we should be able to receive 


Settling down at Sabi Ophir — Difficulties of cooking — No 
luggage — Gold panning — Mr. Sutton leaves the 
Bishop — Description of our huts — Visit from a hysena 
— Arrival of Mrs. Tulloch and children — The question 
of food — Flowers — Mr. Selous visits Umtali — Mr. 
Teal devoured by a lion — The native labour question 
— Evils of drink — Our boxes are rifled by the natives 
— Our first patient — The Administrator arrives at 
Umtali — Hospital hut opened — Bishop leaves for 
England — Horrors of night duty — Arrival of Mr. 
Rhodes — Site of camp moved — The rains begin — Mr. 
and Mrs. Bent. 

After this excitement life settled back into 
monotonous idleness. We endeavoured to 
make our leisure useful by acquiring a 
knowledge of cookery, but truly it was 
learning pursued under difficulties. We 
had rations of coarse meal and a piece of 
ox flesh. Our cooking utensils consisted 
of a three-legged pot and a frying - pan. 


How were we to create a dinner ? A year 
later we should have produced something 
eatable ; but in those days we were incap- 
able. We boiled the ox flesh in the three- 
legged pot, whence it issued in the condition 
of shoe-leather. Mixing the meal with 
water, we made the most horrible half-cooked 
flat cakes by heating the dough on hot 
stones. There was neither baking powder 
nor yeast in the country. 

One day we received a present of venison, 
shot by a Mr. Teal. Now, I had from time 
to time saved up a small quantity of sardine 
oil, believing myself to be a famous house- 
keeper. In a moment of vain self-confidence 
I undertook the dinner that night, and we 
invited Mr. Campion to come and eat venison 
steaks. I fried these steaks in my sardine 
oil, and served them proudly. They posi- 
tively looked like real steaks, such as people 
would eat at home. But, alas ! scarcely had 
two mouthfuls been eaten when every one 
fled from the table, and my wonderful dinner 
was abandoned to the little native who waited 


on us. He certainly enjoyed it immensely, 
so even that ill wind blew somebody good ; 
but it was unanimously decided that hence- 
forth I was never to be trusted with the pre- 
paration of meals, and I was reduced to the 
positidn of a kitchen-maid — not, I must 
confess, before it was high time. 

Rumours now reached us that the Road 
Company's waggons had at last arrived at 
'Mpanda's, and had begun their return trek. 
Then we heard of oxen dying, of long de- 
lays on the road, and of fever amongst the 
trekkers, some of whom were said to have 
died. Captain Heany sent fresh teams of 
oxen and waggons down to bring up the 
travellers, giving orders that our luggage 
was to be secured and brought up. The 
Mission people abandoned the waggons, and 
trailed up to Umtali, one after the other, each 
bringing a few boys and some provisions. 
One of them reached Umtali on the 10th of 
August, and told us that old Wilkins was 
stuck at Chimoio with all the luggage. The 
oxen were dead, and he could do nothing till 

168 ADVENTURES chap. 

the fresh teams arrived. It was quite im- 
possible to say when we should get our 
clothes ; meanwhile we should have to go on 
with the couple of changes of linen we had had 
with us on the march, and be very thankful 
if we ever again beheld our boxes. We had 
made a resolution never to grumble, and 
on the whole I think we kept it fairly well. 

Meanwhile digging and prospecting went 
on actively ; gold reefs were discovered in 
every direction ; no one talked of anything 
but "booms," "shares," "quartz carrying 
visible," and the prospect of finding alluvial 
fields. It was amusing to go to a digger's 
encampment, see him " crush " his quartz, 
and then "pan it." Panning means washing 
the crushed quartz in a sort of iron basin, 
gradually allowing all the rubbish to flow 
away with the water, and then the heavy 
gold remains in the bottom of a pan in a thin 
yellow streak, often almost imperceptible. 
When a miner sees this yellow streak he 
exclaims that he has " got colour," and is a 
happy man. Finding a great deal of colour 


is a reason for "going on the burst." Find- 
ing nothing at all is also a reason for a 
" burst." Thus do extremes meet. 

Old^Wilkins reached Umtali on the 16th 
of August, having left the luggage at Chimoio 
to come up with Captain Heany's waggons. 
Shortly after Mr. Sutton left the Mission, 
returning to Sabi Ophir. He was such a 
good-natured young fellow that we felt sure 
the Bishop would miss him. He said he did 
not find that the life at the Mission agreed 
with him, and preferred seeking for work 
elsewhere. Very soon after his arrival at Sabi 
Ophir we left that encampment, and took 
possession of four huts about fifty yards from 
the lines. The officers furnished these huts 
for us, and made them astonishingly com- 
fortable. They stripped their own huts of 
the spoils of Masse-Kesse, and we became 
the proud possessors of a real table, chairs, a 
pair of candlesticks, and treasure of treasures ! 
— a bath. The huts were of a round beehive 
shape ; the mud walls were concealed behind 
a drapery of blue and white limbo, and the 

i 7 o ADVENTURES chap. 

earthen floors covered with the white mats 
which the natives weave out of split reeds. 
These mats are extremely practical, as they 
are strong and capable of being washed. 

Our encampment was enclosed by a low 
wall of loosely piled stones, inside which we 
were assured no wild beast would dare to 
penetrate. We firmly believed this, and 
felt quite safe till an enterprising hyaena tried 
to enter into our store hut, where a piece of 
ox was suspended from the roof awaiting to 
be consumed. I consider it a special pro- 
vidence that no wild creatures burst into our 
sleeping huts. We had no doors, only a 
mat hanging before the opening. Many a 
night did we lie awake in terror, listening to 
the strange, uncanny noises of the veldt, and 
imagining every sort of terrible possibility. 
We tried to overcome these terrors, with but 
indifferent success ; and I cannot say that we 
ever became accustomed to the neighbour- 
hood of wild beasts. 

About this time a prospector, named 
Tulloch, brought his wife and two little 


children from the coast in machilas. We 
went to see Mrs. Tulloch, and found her 
in bed with a slight attack of fever ; the two 
children* were ill also. It was strange and 
delightful to see children again. We made 
Mrs. Tulloch promise to bring them over to 
see us as soon as possible. Like ourselves, 
this family had been forced to leave all their 
luggage behind them, and were in want of 
provisions. It was a great regret to us that 
we could not help them. We had nothing 
ourselves but the Company's rations, on 
which even the men could not, and were 
not expected, to live. 

The kindness of the Company's officers 
kept us from starvation. The meat rations 
often failed to appear, or were uneatable. 
Such incidents must be expected in a new 
country, but it was very unpleasant to be 
conscious that, instead of being able to help, 
we were ourselves a burden on the already 
heavily taxed resources of the camp. But 
there was nothing to be done but accept the 
situation till Dr. Jameson, the Administrator, 


came down from Salisbury. Meanwhile 
every prospector who came to see us brought 
an offering. One came with a bake-pot, one 
with bananas, one with honey in a bottle. Mr. 
Fiennes, who had some cows, sent milk 
regularly to us and to Mrs. Tulloch. A 
Mashona cow that gives three wine bottles 
of milk a day is considered a good cow, so 
that the bottle of milk which we received 
every day was a very generous gift, and 
proved a great boon as soon as we had any 
bad case to nurse. 

I may seem to lay great stress on our 
feeding experiences, but in Africa the food 
question is really a burning one. How to 
obtain provisions, how to cook them when 
procured — these are problems of absorbing 
interest in a pioneer camp. 

It is curious and interesting to watch the 
process of victualling a new country, which 
is cut off from ordinary transport organisa- 
tion. The first thing a trader asks himself 
is, "What will sell best?" The answer is 
not far to seek — whisky ! Thereupon he 


buys up the cheapest spirit he can obtain 
in the colony, engages seventy or eighty 
natives to " run it up," and floods the country 
with fiery poison. To make up the carrier's 
loads to the requisite weight he adds a few 
conveniently -sized tins of food stuff. He 
does not care in the least what sort of food 
it is, relying as he does for all his profit on 
the whisky. Spirit which he has bought for 
15s. the dozen, he sells for 30s. a bottle, and 
considers that he is barely making a fair 
profit. Meanwhile the provisions he throws 
on the market are most eccentric. I re- 
member a time when nothing but sardines 
could be bought in Umtali. Then came a 
period of tinned lobster, to be followed by a 
deluge of foie-gras. For a week or two the 
whole of Manica breakfasted, dined, supped 
on foie-gras — not of the best. A great deal 
of illness which was attributed to fever and 
climate might with much truth be put down 
to the score of eccentric eating and drinking. 
Among the things which disappointed us 
in Africa were the flowers. There were a 

174 ADVENTURES chap. 

good many, it is true, and very brilliant ones, 
but they came out in successions, like crops, 
and so the varied effect so beautiful in 
England was entirely lost. Whilst the 
hospital huts were in process of construction 
we used to go on flower-hunting expeditions, 
knowing that soon we should have no time 
for wanderings. With the exception of a tall 
flag-like lily, which grew along the banks of 
rivers, or in pools and swamps, the flowers 
consisted chiefly of tree blooms. At that 
time, about the middle of September, a tree, 
something like an ash as to the leaf, burst 
into bloom. The blooms were like bunches 
of gigantic buttercups of a brilliant yellow 
colour. At first we were delighted with 
them. The golden flowers brought light 
and colour into our huts, and were admirably 
set off by the brown walls. But after two or 
three weeks of yellow it became intolerable. 
In like manner the scarlet bloom of a species 
of azalea at first charmed and then wearied. 
Everything in Africa is excessive — the light, 
the heat, the vegetation, the wild beasts ! 


Just at that time the great hunter Mr. 
Selous came to Umtali. We were much 
afraid that we should miss him, but he sent 
us word that he would come as soon as he 
could get his shirt washed. When we re- 
ceived this message we felt sure he was a 
delightful person — and our instincts did not 
deceive us. 

Mr. Selous appeared to be a man of about 
eight-and-thirty, light, active, and giving one 
an impression of presence of mind and re- 
source. Of his personal appearance it is 
impossible to remember anything but his 
eyes, which are extraordinarily clear and 

We persuaded our distinguished guest to 
tell us some of his adventures, which he did 
with great charm and modesty. He is known 
throughout Africa as the man who never tells 
a lie. If one were to make the most incredible 
statement, adding, " Selous told me so," people 
would say, " This is a hard saying, but, if 
you heard it from Selous, it must be true." 
What a splendid reputation to have anywhere, 

176 ADVENTURES chap. 

but especially in Africa! He told us he 
had shot twenty-three lions to his own gun, 
and had helped to put an end to nine others. 
This was two years ago. We told him about 
those we had heard roaring around us on the 
way up, and how frightened we had often 
been. He said our mode of travelling, sleep- 
about in the open beside dim fires, was ex- 
tremely foolhardy, and we should probably 
have suffered for it had not the country been 
so well stocked with game. A hungry lion, 
he added, will jump over any fire, and what 
he will or will not dare cannot possibly be 

A terrible event which occurred a few 
miles from the camp, just after Mr. Selous 
left for Salisbury, gave point to this observa- 

Mr. Teal, the same young fellow whose 
venison I had fried in sardine oil, went out 
prospecting, taking with him a native servant, 
a waggon, and a span of oxen, and leaving his 
brother at home on a farm which the two 
were beginning to cultivate. The next day 


the native, beside himself with terror, ap- 
peared at the farm, and told the elder Teal 
that his brother had been devoured by a lion. 
Snatching up his rifle, and calling to his 
natives to follow, the distracted man sped 
away to the spot where his brother's waggon 
was still outspanned. After a brief search, 
the head of the unhappy young Teal was 
found under a bank. Part of his arm was 
lying close by. The native said that after 
supping and making up the fire, he and his 
master rolled themselves in their blankets, 
and went to sleep under the waggon. Sud- 
denly, not a rustle having betrayed his 
presence, a lion seized the white man by the 
foot and dragged him away. The native 
crept out from under the other end of the 
waggon, and swarmed up a tree. There, in 
the bright moonlight, he saw the lion drag 
his master across the veldt towards a high 
bank. The lioness sprang out of the grass, and 
ran after her mate, giving their prey playful 
taps in true cat-like fashion, and uttering 
little grunts of pleasure. The native had a 


178 ADVENTURES chap. 

rifle, but was too terrified to fire. Had he 
done so he might have scared the lions, and 
given his master a chance of escape. As it 
was, the unhappy man's shrieks were heard 
for many minutes. 

It was, up to that time, the popular belief 
that a lion will not take a man, if he can get 
a bullock, and that 'he prefers a native to a 
white man. Also that he does not understand 
waggons, and is afraid of them. This 
horrible tragedy proved all these theories to 
be based on nothing. 

As soon as this news reached the camp, 
Mr. Fiennes went out in search of the lions, 
but found, somewhat to his disappointment, 
that they had been shot by a Dutchman 
the night before. 

Mr. Selous gave us a huge bundle of 
newspapers before leaving Umtali, and 
rifled his waggon to fill our empty store-room. 
The papers were a great boon. We had had 
no letters since we left Cape Town in April. 
English news of any kind seems to bring one 
nearer home. We sent some letters off by 


Mr. Selous, who would take them to 
Salisbury, and get them sent on as quickly 
as possible. In these days one can send a 
letter to Umtali from London in six weeks, 
but at the time I am writing of, 1891, it often 
took three weeks to reach Salisbury from 
Umtali. This will give some idea of the 
difficulties which the excellent postal organ- 
isation, now existing, had to overcome. 

Of late we had seen but little of the 
Bishop. He had gone on an exploring tour 
to some kraals, with an eye towards future 
mission stations. Returning to Umtali at 
the beginning of September, he left almost 
immediately for Salisbury. The clergyman 
who was bringing his waggon across the 
Transvaal had as yet made no sign. The 
Bishop hoped to get news of him at 

The native labour question in Manica 
was almost as vexed a one as the eight hours' 
question in England. It was almost im- 
possible to procure boys, and, even when one 
had succeeded in engaging a few, they 


promptly fled. In consequence the hospital 
huts were making no progress. 

M'Tassa, the "King", of Manica, was 
dissatisfied with the present the Chartered 
Company had given him. He wanted rifles 
and cartridges, and had only received old 
uniforms, indifferent limbo, and a few caps. 
Mr. Fiennes went over to the King's kraal 
to remonstrate with him about the behaviour 
of his men, and some of the runaway natives 
were sent back. 

Curiously enough the Bishop, who worked 
his boys hard and paid them little, was the 
only person in the country with whom the 
natives would stay. I think one reason of 
his success in managing natives lay in the 
fact that he treated them consistently. His 
boys were neither playthings nor slaves ; 
were well fed, regularly paid, and cared for 
when sick. ■ 

A native never understands familiarity on 
the part of his chief. Yet they are so 
fantastically quaint, that it is difficult to avoid 
laughing at and with them. More than once 


we split on this rock, our boys becoming idle 
and insubordinate. The native, too, believes 
in the rea4y money system, and requires to 
be paid at the very hour or minute his money 
falls due. He appears with a piece of string, 
on which he has made a knot for every day 
he has worked, stretching out his hands for 
"mali" (money). If the "mali" is not 
forthcoming that very instant — good-bye to 
peace ! You are followed about the whole 
day. You drive the man away twenty times ; 
he returns. You send for an interpreter, 
and explain that gold is coming down in the 
waggons but has not yet arrived. Fruitless 
effort! The native only repeats, " Nyanga 
pelile — funa mali," " The month is finished, 
I want money." 

The Bishop only paid his boys with a 
blanket, or a stretch or two of limbo, worth 
perhaps eightpence ; very rarely, he told us, 
did he give money ; yet natives swarmed at 
the Mission Farm. The Chartered Com- 
pany paid £i per month in gold, and found 
it very difficult to procure native labour. Of 

1 82 ADVENTURES chap. 

course the Company's natives had many- 
masters — some were good, others brutal and 
drunken ; drinking was beginning to take 
very great proportions in Umtali. 

It was sad, terrible, yet the men had 
very many excuses. I do not believe that 
any community of men, from any part of the 
world, would have shown to much greater 
advantage under similar circumstances. 

The Umtali-ite of those days had absolutely 
nothing to do, was without books or papers, 
and had gone through great hardships. The 
certainty that it would be more difficult than 
any one had supposed, to "open up the 
country," as the phrase went, quickly followed 
the wild excitement created by the discovery 
of wonderful gold - reefs. Drinking bars 
abounded — the Jew traders took care of 
that. And, in addition to all these causes, 
there was that terrible African depression, 
which all who have visited the Dark Con- 
tinent must experience. It sweeps over a 
community, as a mist descends from the 
mountain -tops, and difficult indeed is it to 


shake it off. Therefore, whilst deploring 
the fact that two -thirds of the population 
were at that time almost always drunk, it 
would be extremely unfair to judge them too 
harshly. Of course drink increased the diffi- 
culties of dealing with the natives, leading as 
it did to all kinds of ill-treatment. The 
Mashona never retaliates. If kicked and 
cuffed, he vanishes in the night, and leaves 
no trace. 

In spite of all delays one hospital hut 
was nearly finished by the 22nd of Septem- 
ber. On that eventful day the waggons 
which Captain Heany had sent down to 
Chimoio returned, bringing with them part 
of our luggage. The whole of Sister 
Welby's effects were there, and a small box 
belonging to Sister Lucy. All my posses- 
sions and most of hers were lost. We heard 
that they had been abandoned by one of the 
Mission men, " somewhere on the veldt." 
Though the Chartered Company sent two 
exploring parties to search for the boxes, no 
trace of them was ever discovered. They 

1 84 ADVENTURES chap. 

were said to have been rifled by natives. 
To this day the route from 'Mpanda's to 
Umtali is marked by abandoned waggons, 
and broken and rotting packing-cases. 

These waggons brought with them a 
rumour to the effect that Mr. Rhodes was 
on his way from Beira, and would reach 
Umtali shortly. Nobody believed this at 
the time. Dr. Jameson, the Administrator, 
was expected, too, in a few days. We hoped 
to see him, and have something definitely 
settled with regard to stores. We could not 
go on much longer living on public charity, 
nor could the officers' mess be expected to 
feed us and the patients. The Mission had 
no stores to speak of, and the possibility of 
getting up any more was very doubtful. 

On the 26th of September our first patient 
arrived. It was the last sort of case I should 
have expected out there, the man being 
elderly, and apparently in very nearly the 
last stage of phthisis. With care and good 
food he might be patched up perhaps, but 
good food was not to be had. The hospital 


hut not being ready, our patient brought a 
tent, which, was pitched some little way off, 
outside our compound. Dr. Lichfield told 
us to give the old man dinner, of " whatever 
we had going." As we had nothing going 
but some stodgy cookies, the sergeants' mess 
undertook to send up "something," and 
something did come by and by, in the shape 
of a huge plateful of not over fresh tinned 

None of the Company's officials, not even 
the doctor, would take the responsibility of 
ordering any "hospital comforts," as they 
are called in Africa. So we took the re- 
sponsibility on ourselves, feeling sure the 
Administrator would come to the rescue ; and 
the British South Africa Company's Hospital, 
Umtali, was opened with furniture and stores 
consisting of two or three iron spoons, two 
tin mugs, a couple of pots of Liebig's extract 
of meat, and a packet of maizena — a species 
of corn-flour, which, when boiled in milk, the 
African doctors prefer to arrowroot. It also 
serves to make excellent blanc-mange, as we 

1 86 ADVENTURES chap. 

discovered when we became a little less 
stupid about household matters. 

Dr. Jameson appeared at Umtali towards 
the end of September. "Dr. Jim of Mashona- 
land " was well known to us by reputa- 
tion, as a brilliant surgeon. Legends of his 
wonderful operations and cures will long 
linger at Kimberley. His appearance some- 
what disappointed us, but before being in his 
company five minutes one is struck with his 
quickness of perception. Scarcely have you 
begun a sentence, when he knows how it will 
end. No one sees a point, nor catches an 
allusion, with more rapidity. Our first inter- 
view with our Administrator was not a par- 
ticularly pleasant one. I am free to confess 
that we forgot diplomacy, and vented a good 
deal of pent-up irritation on our visitor's 


Mieux persuade, 
Et peut davantage 
Un doux visage 
Qu'un homme arme*, 

is a truth which no woman should forget ! 


Unfortunately Dr. Jameson, in the course 
of conversation, said we had come up a year 
too early, but that now we had arrived, he 
must try and find us patients. " Supposing 
you first find a hospital," was the obvious 
retort which we did not fail to make. Then, 
taking Dr. Jameson's speech to imply blame 
to the Bishop for bringing us up, we pro- 
ceeded to denounce the muddle of the 
Chartered Company's affairs, the drink which 
they allowed to be imported for the sake of 
revenue, and a great many other things 
which were absolutely no business of ours. 
" Jameson went into that hut a man, and 
came out a mouse," said the officer who 
brought him to us, and who sat in silent 
dismay in a corner of the hut. 

But the Administrator was much too large- 
minded to bear malice. Instead of resenting 
our impolitic reproaches, he revenged him- 
self generously by making every arrangement 
both for the hospital and for ourselves, which 
the state of the country permitted. From 
that date the Chartered Company took entire 

1 88 ADVENTURES chap. 

charge of us, and, as regarded material wants, 
we had nothing more to do with the Mission. 
The Administrator authorised us to order 
all necessaries for hospital and ourselves, and 
the Company paid the bills without a murmur. 

The hospital hut being open we took in 
three patients, the poor old man in the tent 
requesting not to be moved. There was 
no chance now of prolonging his life for any- 
time. Indeed, he died on the 8th of October. 

I shall never forget night-nursing in that 
tent. Sister Lucy and I did it together, as 
we were each afraid of going up and down the 
hill alone. The fate of Mr. Teal was in our 
minds, as we sat by a small fire near the 
tent, with intense darkness around us, and 
the cry of a passing hyaena curdling the blood 
in our veins. When the hut was built we 
could sit in the porch, the sleeping patients 
inside were a sort of company, and the night 
seemed to pass more quickly. 

On the day on which our first patient 
died, the Bishop came to say good-bye. We 
had hoped his departure for England would 


have been delayed till December. His 
clergyman, Mr. Sewell, had not yet arrived. 
Dr. Knight Bruce himself had only reached 
Mashonaland in May, and it seemed a short 
sojourn. The dreaded rainy season was at 
hand. The whole township and hospital 
was to be moved to a distance of five miles, 
its present site being considered unfavourable 
for the development of a town. Everything 
was still in an unsettled state. We could 
not help feeling a little forlorn as we saw the 
Bishop ride away. However, he explained 
that it was absolutely necessary, in the 
interests of the Mission, that he should go 
to England and collect money. Of course,, 
the interests of the Mission came before 
everything. Nothing more could be said. 

The very day that he left, Mr. Rhodes 
arrived. He did not stay in the Police 
Camp, but accepted the hospitality offered by 
Captain Heany. He was besieged with 
petitions of all sorts. Malcontents and 
chronic grumblers went to his hut, and came 
away in a few moments cheerful and satisfied. 


Not that anything was altered in the con- 
dition of affairs — the man's mere personal 
magnetism wrought the change. 

The Premier's stay was not to exceed 
two days, so we did not expect to see him. 
Great was our astonishment, when, on the 
morning of Saturday, the ioth of October, 
one of the officials rushed breathless to our 
hut with the information that Mr. Rhodes 
was coming to see us. This man was the 
only official who had been persistently 
unpleasant, and he had come to request 
that we would let bygones be bygones! 
His experience of women must have been a 
sad one, for we heard that he really believed 
we should try and revenge ourselves by com- 
plaining to Mr. Rhodes of his behaviour 
to us. 

As we were leaving the hospital hut, Mr. 
Rhodes rode up alone. His appearance and 
Roman Emperor type of head are too well 
known to need description. We took him 
into the hut, knowing our patients would like 
to see him. It was not without difficulty 


that we persuaded him to enter. He said 
that if he were ill himself he should not like 
a stranger to come and look at him. But 
when we told him that the patients would be 
greatly disappointed if they did not see him, 
he yielded at once. He must have thought 
them rather stupid. They stared with • all 
the powers of their eyes, but said nothing. 
We discovered afterwards that they could 
not understand his not having finer clothes. 
I think they expected a more gorgeous 
apparition, a chain and ring man probably, 
suggestive of De Beers Mine. 

As soon as Mr. Rhodes was seated on a 
box in our hut, he asked for pen and ink, 
saying he would give us a cheque at once for 
the hospital. How much would we have ? 
Would ,£100 do? Amply, we said. Well, 
he thought he had better make it ^150. I 
feel sure that if we had clamoured for ^500, 
he would have given it. His generosity is 
proverbial, everything about the man is big 
— faults, virtues, projects. His ambition 
itself is largely tinctured with altruism. He 

192 ADVENTURES chap. 

is the darling of Fortune — and that blind 
goddess does not often select her favourites 
from the Sunday School. We were espe- 
cially charmed by the great man's simple 
manners, and boyish enjoyment of a joke. 
He told us that he had made political capital 
out of our walk up. The Cape Town 
Government having objected to his journey 
to Umtali on the score of danger, he had 
answered that if ladies had been able to walk 
up without tents or waggons, it would be 
absurd for a man not to be afraid to ride up, 
as the horses, of course, would fall victims 
to the fly ! After this statement he had met 
with no further opposition. 

Mr. Rhodes remained, chatting delight- 
fully, for a couple of hours, and left promis- 
ing to see us through all our difficulties. 
Nor was this a vain promise. Of his many 
kindnesses, we thought most of his having 
remembered to replace the small medical 
library, which had been lost with our luggage. 
The books not being procurable at the Cape, 
this busy man took the trouble of having 


them sent for to England. He left that 
evening for Salisbury, leaving every one as 
hopeful, enterprising, and confident in the 
resources of, the country, as they had been 
dispirited and pessimistic before his arrival. 

Captain Heyman, of Masse-Kesse fame, 
had left Mashonaland some weeks before, 
and one of his officers took his place pending 
the arrival of Captain Turner, of the Scots, 
to whom the appointment of officer in com- 
mand and resident magistrate had been given. 
Captain Turner was a tall, soldierly young 
fellow, with a splendid physique. It would 
have seemed almost impossible, then,, to 
believe that in less than a year he would 
have fallen a victim to the fever-fiend. 

After Mr. Rhodes's departure the work of 
starting New Umtali began in earnest. Mr. 
Fiennes, with some of his police and a num- 
ber of natives, encamped over at the new 
site, and set to work building the police 
camp, together with our huts and the hos- 
pital. This last was quite a stately square 
building, with a small operation room in the 


centre and a ward on either side ; the whole 
being capable of holding from twenty to 
thirty sick. 

Some sort of change was indeed neces- 
sary. The rains had begun ; the existing 
hospital hut was an awful place. Hardly a 
square inch of roof was water-tight. We 
put up an umbrella here, hung a waterproof 
sheet there, and did what was possible. But 
it remained a cheerless, uncomfortable abode ; 
and it went to one's heart to see a sick man 
lying in such a place. As to our own huts, 
they were past any attempt at patching. We 
huddled together in the centre of one, where 
there was a dry space of about a yard square, 
all the rest being a sort of swamp. How- 
ever, the rain was not continuous. A few 
hours' sun dried up everything. Things 
might have been worse, and were improving 

One Sunday afternoon some interesting 
visitors appeared at the door of our hut. 
They were Mr. and Mrs. Bent, accompanied 
by a Mr. Swan. We had hardly shaken 


hands, when Mrs. Bent asked us what we 
thought of her dress. This was a difficult 
question to answer. Mrs. Bent's costume 
consisted of an ordinary print blouse, worn 
over obvious stays ; a woollen kilt, reaching 
to just below her knees ; knickerbockers ; top 
boots ; and a pith helmet, which gave its 
wearer something of the air of a Britannia 
who had exchanged the rest of her garments 
with a scarecrow ! We gently suggested 
that if the fair explorer had consulted 
Redfern, or, better still, Martin of Dublin, 
either would have built her something much 
more workmanlike and beguiling. After 
this Mrs. Bent made herself very pleasant, 
showed us photographs which she had taken 
with much skill, a talent which was no doubt 
of great use to her husband. Mr. Bent 
might have been the " Silent Member " him- 
self, he spoke so little ; but, the next day, 
when we went to his encampment, he showed 
us his sketch-books, and was much less mute. 
He was fresh from those strange Mashona- 
land ruins which have given rise to so much 

196 ADVENTURES chap. 

conjecture. Mr. Bent supposed them to be 
extremely ancient. He told us that, without 
consulting the archives at Lisbon, he could 
not give a decided opinion on their origin. 
At that time he seemed to believe them to 
be the ruins of a temple and fortress. There, 
he thought, weird rights had been solemnised 
and fierce battles fought. 

Mr. Selous differed entirely from this 
view. He believes the ruins to be com- 
paratively modern, and the remains of native 
work. There is a tradition that a great 
chief is buried under them, and Mashonas 
still go and worship there. Mr. Selous is 
probably the best authority on the subject, 
knowing Africa as thoroughly as he does, 
and being able to converse with the native 
as easily as with an Englishman, whilst Mr. 
Bent could neither speak nor understand the 
language. But Mr. Bent appeared certain 
that the Portuguese only could throw light 
on the problem. He said that the Portu- 
guese had certainly been all over the country, 
and that a Portuguese archaeologist who 


would devote himself to the subject would 
find the archives, of Lisbon, and very likely 
of other old cities, rich in most interesting 

A few days later the Bents rode away to 
Masse- Kesse, en route for the coast. We 
saw them go, with something of a pang. 
They would probably be our last visitors. 
When the rainy season set in thoroughly, 
Umtali would be like a besieged city, and 
its inhabitants cut off from all communica- 
tion with the outer world. 


Leaving Old for New Umtali — Our Malay boy Jonosso — 
" Your Excellency's plate " — Rain — Waiting for the 
waggon — An accident — Water-tight huts — Furnishing 
the hospital — Sister Lucy as carpenter — The white 
prisoner — His thumbs tied — Algernon Caulfield makes 
an arm-chair — Illness and departure of Eustace 
Fiennes — Sister B. Welby and Dr. Lichfield — Arrival 
of our clergyman — His strange attire — His disputes 
with the mission workers — He " chucks his orders " — 
Advent of a professional baker — Sister Lucy's cake — Its 
effect on Col. Pennefather — Wedding cake — The first 
marriage in Manica — Keeping Christmas — The police 
deputation — The cow — Sports — Magistrate and Civil 
Commissioner " on the burst " — All the police arrest 
each other — The last man — General amnesty — The 
Colonel again — " Order of the Sack " — Good-byes. 

In December, 1891, we took possession of 
our new hospital. It stood on a gentle 
eminence surrounded by trees, commanding 
a fine view of the plain on which the future 
township was to be built. Rocky hills closed 
in the valley. On one of these lived 


M'Tassa, the Manica king. Behind the 
hospital were our huts. At the back of 
these the compound sloped upward, losing 
itself in a thickly wooded hill. It was a pretty 
place ; the rocks, broken ground, and trees, 
giving it a very picturesque air. 

The journey from Old to New Umtali, 
a distance of about six miles, assumed quite 
the proportions of an expedition. What we 
called "our furniture," such rattle-traps as 
would be disdained by an East-end flitter, 
was piled up on a bullock waggon. Having 
seen that the pots and pans were firmly 
bound to the waggon with reims — that is, long 
strips of dried cow-hide — we walked off, the 
natives setting fire to the huts as we left 

We had been so fortunate as to come 
across a wandering Malay from the coast. 
Malays make the best servants, they are 
so spotlessly clean. Our boy's name was 
" Jonosso." He was much too important 
and dignified a person to have anything to 
do with the waggon. "Where," he said to 

200 ADVENTURES chap. 

me in Portuguese, " Where does your Excel- 
lency wish your Excellency's plate to be 
packed ? " Our " plate " consisted of six 
little tea-spoons which we had brought up 
with us, and a few steel forks of the cheapest 
description. All were kept in an empty 
biscuit-tin, as sacred to Jonosso as the most 
splendid plate-chest to an English butler. 
He stalked before us bearing it on his head — 
a strange figure in a long blue shirt, or 
rather night-gown, reaching to the middle 
of his calves ; white and scarlet striped 
trousers of thin muslin ; a scarlet fez on his 
woolly head ; 1 and a perpetual curl of smoke 
issuing from his lips. 

Following him as quickly as we could, for 
the day looked threatening, we reached New 
Umtali towards noon. Hardly had we taken 
refuge in Mr. Fiennes's hut, when the rain 
began. In a few moments the huts appeared 
to be standing in a sort of lagoon. The 
earth is so dry and hard in Africa, that the 

1 The " Malays " in Africa generally have woolly heads, probably 
being of mixed race. 


rain does not sink into it for a long time. 
Not till one has lived in these climates, does 
one understand the force of the Biblical 
expression, "the heavens opened." 

Meanwhile, there we sat, watching the 
rain, and wishing the waggon would come. 
Hour after hour passed. At last a boy was 
despatched to see what had happened. He 
soon returned, saying the waggon had 
broken down. Off rode Mr. Fiennes and 
his men, and by their united efforts the 
waggon was patched up, and reached its 
destination an hour after dark. 

Everything had been upset in a "donga" 
or deep ditch between two hills. The rains 
had filled the " donga" with water. Our tea 
had turned into a sort of soup, our meal into 
dough. The precious packing-cases, on 
which a heavy man could sit without fear 
of accident, were smashed, and only fit for 
firewood. Our blankets were happily dry. 
We had a fire lit in the little kitchen hut ; 
spread waterproofs on the floor ; and, rolled 
in our rugs, slept soundly till morning. The 


rain poured all night, but none found its way 
through the thatch. The certainty of having 
water-tight huts consoled us for the mis- 
adventures of our flitting. 

The next day was devoted to getting huts 
and hospital into something like order. 
After a great deal of trouble, and after taking 
Mr. Rhodes's name in vain a hundred times 
a day, we succeeded in obtaining fairly com- 
fortable canvas stretchers for the patients, 
instead of the horrible grass and sticks which 
had furnished the former hospital hut. This 
was something. The musty smell of grass 
which has served for some time as a bed, the 
impossibility of changing it, the swarms of 
fleas which it harbours, make it the very last 
thing which ought to be used for sick people. 
As soon as the sun has thoroughly dried the 
land after the rains, settlers set fire to the 
long dry grass. It is dangerous to live in 
the midst of it, as a chance spark will set it 
on fire, and a whole encampment be swept 
away in a few moments. So that except at 
one time of the year, there is great difficulty 


in obtaining grass for thatching and other 

Had it not been for these canvas 
stretchers the hospital would have been 
absolutely empty. It was necessary to have 
a few tables. Sister Lucy, who had a great 
turn for carpentering, set to work to make 
some. It was amusing to see her hammer- 
ing and sawing, with the air of a professional 
carpenter. Our little black boys took a 
lively interest in these operations. Like 
Dora Copperfield and her pens, they felt 
they were helped largely if they held the 
nails, or passed the saw. 

We soon obtained other assistance, 
however, in the shape of a white prisoner. 
This man, a Bavarian prospector, shot at 
a native and shattered his leg. The boy 
had followed his master about, clamouring 
for his money. In a moment of irritation, the 
latter snatched up his gun, and discharged 
it at the boy. Dr. Lichfield rode out 
to the German's camp, and amputated the 
injured leg, the boy eventually recovering. 


Our prisoner, who paid a fine, and had to 
do three months' hard labour, was marched 
to the hospital compound every morning. 
He wore the usual flannel shirt and 
miner's trousers, but large green arrows 
were painted all over them. The sun 
melted the paint, which ran down him in 
every direction, and wherever he stood he 
left a little green pool. 

There was no door to the gaol, so the 
Resident Magistrate, a man of resource, had 
the prisoner's thumbs tied behind him at 
night. The German, accustomed to a paternal 
government, submitted ; but when it came to 
tying Englishmen's thumbs, a disturbance 
was made, and the practice had to be 

The German was not Sister Lucy's only 
aide-de-camp. Mr. Algernon Caulfield, a 
nice long-legged English boy, who had just 
abandoned diplomacy at the Hague in favour 
of an unsophisticated life in Mashonaland, 
offered his services. He could actually turn a 
packing-case into an arm-chair in a few hours. 


When covered with turkey twill, the fi-devant 
box appeared to have come from Maple's. 
It was always pushed into a prominent 
position in the hut, and invariably excited 
the liveliest admiration and envy. 

Mr. Seymour-Fort, whose camp was a 
few miles from New Umtali, became a 
frequent visitor at the hospital. It was 
well for us that these excellent friends 
were at hand. The Bishop had left, so 
had Mr. Campion ; and now Mr. Fiennes, 
to whom we owed so much, whose help 
we counted on in all difficulties — and never 
in vain — was going also. His health had 
broken down ; it was necessary that he should 
escape to the colony, if not to England, 
before the Beira route became impracticable. 
We saw him leave with a regret which may 
be imagined. 

Meanwhile, an event was approaching, in 
which the whole of the little colony took 
much interest. Sister B. Welby and Dr. 
Lichfield were about to be married. 

We offered no opposition to the marriage, 


although feeling that the work would fall 
somewhat heavily on two. But Sister B. 
Welby detested African nursing, and could 
not accommodate herself to the makeshift 
arrangements, the perpetual cooking and 
cleaning. Unable to make herself happy 
in the hospital, it was much better she 
should leave it, since an opportunity offered. 
A person who takes life too seriously in a 
pioneer hospital, who can extract no fun 
from the odd contrivances one has recourse 
to, and the many inevitable difficulties, must 
obviously be very unhappy. Only cheery 
souls should attempt African nursing. For 
these reasons the marriage was fixed for 
Christmas Eve. We had then been but 
four months in Manica, and our work was 
only beginning, so Sister B. Welby escaped 
the worst of the hardship and drudgery in 
store for us. 

The long-expected clergyman had arrived 
some weeks before we left Old Umtali. I 
must say that the appearance of this gentle- 
man, whose name was Sewell, was a great 


shock to us. He wore a helmet ; a flannel 
shirt ; and coarse blue trousers, much too 
short, of the type dear to navvies. These 
were held in place by a large scarlet hand- 
kerchief, which however did its work so 
indifferently that Mr. Sewell was always 
hitching up his trousers like a comic sailor in 
a pantomime. Anything more unclerical than 
his manners and get-up cannot be imagined. 
His first visit was entirely taken up with 
complaints of his position and of the other 
mission workers. He said he had no money. 
Like Dr. Glanville he possessed but £2 ! 
He also informed us that the Bishop had 
left him no authority, excepting over souls. 
A mere boy was in charge of stores and 
work. He was not going to stand it ; he 
would work his way home before the mast. 
We tried to persuade the irate clergyman 
that the cure of souls was the only important 
part of the Mission. For a long time he 
would do nothing but rage against the place, 
people, and Bishop. " Am I to depend for 
a pound of butter on an office boy ? " he 

208 ADVENTURES chap. 

cried, over and over again. After talking for 
an hour or so, he was at last somewhat 
appeased. He consented to write to Dr. 
Knight Bruce, and remain quietly at Umtali 
until he received an answer. Practically this 
meant remaining till the end of the rainy 
season, as he could not hear from the Bishop 
till it would be too late to attempt leaving the 
country. With this we were satisfied. The 
delay would give the Bishop time to remedy 
the situation. I may state here that, the 
following Easter, Mr. Sewell, to use his own 
expression, " chucked his orders," and went 
into partnership with a Jew tavern-keeper. 
Poor Bishop ! he told us the man had been 
most highly recommended to him. Surely 
people who give unfounded recommenda- 
tions have a very false idea of what charity 
really means. 

Meanwhile the resources of the country 
were increasing. Imagine our joy when a 
real baker came from Salisbury, and we 
realised that the days of amateur bread- 
making were past and done with. Of all our 


difficulties I really think this was the worst. 
We took infinite pains, and consulted the 
best local authorities, — but what would come 
out of that baking pot was always the merest 
lottery. I remember once receiving a pre- 
sent of currants, upon which Sister Lucy 
resolved to make a currant cake. In the 
pride of our hearts we boasted of our great 
doings, with the result that Colonel Penne- 
father and two or three of his officers came 
over to tea. 

Alas! in some mysterious way, the cake 
had turned into a sort of plum pudding! 
Sister Lucy was, however, equal to the 
occasion ; she fried the pudding, and served 
large slices of it to our guests. The Colonel 
ate his slice like a man, and a very polite 
one. We heard that he was very irritable 
for the next twenty-four hours, only recover- 
ing when rumours of a lion were brought 
into camp. Irritable or not, every one liked 
the Colonel. We always looked forward to 
his visits, and were very sorry when he left 


210 ADVENTURES chap. 

Of course we could eat fried lumps of 
dough, even though it was not very whole- 
some. Bread for the hospital was the diffi- 
culty. Though we often made excellent 
loaves, and naturally improved daily, results 
were never certain. The first day the 
baker's boy left a batch of bread at the 
hospital was, therefore, a red-letter day. 
We immediately ordered a wedding cake for 
Christmas Eve. It could not be iced, but it 
would be a real cake. 

Early on the morning of the 24th of 
December, Sister Lucy and I went forth to 
hunt for flowers. Climbing a steep hill about 
two miles distant we found a mass of Cape 
jasmine, and returned laden with the spoil. 
These flowers filled the huts with exquisite 
perfume, and lent something of poetry to the 
rude surroundings. 

The marriage took place at four in the 
afternoon, in a hut which we had draped with 
blue and white limbo for the occasion. Mr. 
Sewell officiated ; the Resident Magistrate 
gave the bride away. 


Dr. Lichfield looked quite smart in a new 
Karkee suit, and Mrs. Lichfield extremely 
nice in a white serge uniform frock. Most 
fortunately, none of her luggage had been 
lost on its way from the coast. 

After the ceremony the party adjourned 
to another hut, and partook of tea in tin 
mugs. The cake never appeared. The 
baker was keeping Christmas ! Then the 
Doctor and his bride walked across to the 
township, where he had put up a few 
picturesque huts, which Mrs. Lichfield decor- 
ated very prettily. 

Christmas Day dawned on an already 
excited community. I do not think it is 
exaggerating to say that by noon every one 
in the place, with the exception of three or 
four men, was very tipsy indeed. 

A deputation of police came to wish us a 
" Merry Christmas." They confided to us 
that they were great scamps, but would 
always stand by us. " If a civilian looksh 
atsh you, Sistersh, you justsh sendsh to ush," 
exclaimed these excellent fellows, propping 

212 ADVENTURES chap. 

themselves up against the hut. We thanked 
them, and watched them striding away, in 
long curves, to the camp. Presently they 
returned. They wished to present us with a 
cow, — would we do them the favour of 
accepting ? We would — with pleasure. We 
had patients in hospital, and had not yet 
bought any cows. Milk would be a great 
boon. Thereupon they retired, this time 
taking a decidedly zig-zag course. No cow, 
however, appeared ; and, to our great amuse- 
ment, we heard that the " deputation " had 
stolen a cow for us. I think the animal had 
strayed into the camp. As our friends were 
driving it to the hospital, the infuriated 
owner swooped down on them, routed the 
gallant but unsteady police, and carried off 
his cow in triumph. Perhaps the generosity 
of our friends was somewhat misplaced, but 
they were kindly souls. 

Christmas Day was devoted to sports of 
various kinds ; but, before the afternoon was 
far spent, the good-natured stage of drunken- 
ness was replaced by the quarrelsome one. 


A free fight took place round the too-well- 
supplied refreshment waggon. The Civil 
Commissioner announced his intention of 
tearing the Resident Magistrate, who was 
also Officer in Command, from his horse. 
This official ordered the Civil Commissioner 
to be arrested. Friends of the latter declared 
that no one but the Administrator had power 
to do so. Nevertheless he was arrested, and 
whirled across the plain, to the Police Camp. 
Were his thumbs to be tied ? That was the 
great question. Meanwhile the Magistrate 
suspended the Civil Commissioner from his 
functions. He in his turn suspended the 
Magistrate. Hubbub and confusion followed. 
Before midnight all the police were under 
arrest, we were told — the last man having 
provoked his punishment by holding a candle 
crooked, whilst the Magistrate himself tied 
the thumbs of some of his prisoners ! 

Next day all was forgotten and forgiven. 
At a banquet, followed by a smoking concert, 
the Civil Commissioner and the Magis- 
trate drank each others' healths. Each man 

214 ADVENTURES chap. 

swore that the other was the best fellow he 
had ever met. Till the end of the year, says 
my diary, camp and township remained "on 
the burst." 

No attempt at holding service having 
been made, we wrote to Mr. Sewell offering 
him the hospital till he could have a church- 
hut erected. He came to see us, making a 
more favourable impression than at his first 
visit, and it was settled that he should hold a 
service on New Year's Eve, and regularly 
every Sunday. He talked quite earnestly 
about his endeavours to do good, and very 
likely he was in earnest. He preached well, 
having much command of language ; and, 
had he chosen, he might have been a great 
influence for good in Umtali. 

On the 2nd of January, 1892, Colonel 
Pennefather rode into the camp. Every one 
rejoiced to see him. He told us he pro- 
jected spending the rainy season in Manica, 
and set to work at once to make his 
hut comfortable. Great, therefore, was the 
general surprise, when, on the 4th of January, 


a runner brought him a dispatch informing 
him that the Military Police were to be 
disbanded, and a Civil Police created. 
The Colonel's services would, therefore, no 
longer be required. He could rejoin his 
regiment when he pleased. In point of 
fact the Company was retrenching in all 
directions. A Civil Government had been 
established. The Military Police were 
considered both expensive and unnecessary. 

The announcement was too sudden not to 
be unpleasant, but the Colonel took the affair 
very calmly. " I've received the Order of 
the Sack, Sister." That was all he said 
about it. We were very sorry indeed to say 
good - bye to him. We had hoped that, 
besides keeping camp and township in order, 
he would prove a pleasant neighbour. 
However there was no help for it. Needs 
must when a retrenching Administrator 


The hospital — Patients — Work — Contrivances — Project 
of brick hospital — Poultry yard — Capricious hens — 
Mashona cows — The bread question — Our baker — 
Attempts to bake himself — A breadless community — 
Montague Bowden — His last game of cricket — His 
illness and death — Scaring off wild beasts — The 
funeral — Our dispenser "on the burst" — Opium 
poisoning — Dispenser attempts suicide — Imprisoned — 
Our protest — Dispenser dismissed — Illness of Sister 
Lucy — Flight of natives — A terrible week — Drink — 
An extraordinary bill — Departure of magistrate — The 
reign of Law in Manica — Birth of first English child 
in Mashonaland — Serious illness of Mrs. Tulloch — 
Our huts burnt to the ground — Narrow escape of 
Mrs. Tulloch — A tipsy fire brigade — Generosity — 
Arrival of Dr. Matthew Johnston — Our patient saved 
— Christening of Cecil Rhodes Tulloch — He leaves 
the hospital in triumph. 

The hospital was soon in working order, 
and rarely without patients. Indeed from 
January to September, it was never empty 
for a day. Referring to my diary, I see 


that from the middle of January till nearly 
the end of March, we left the hospital 
compound once only. Or in English nurs- 
ing parlance, we had one afternoon off 

It was the unbroken continuity of work 
which made it trying, rather than its arduous 
nature. The native servants were most 
uncertain. They came and went at their 
own caprice. Sometimes we had a good 
staff, sometimes only one boy for every- 
thing. In no case was it safe to send 
even a cup of milk over to the hospital 
by a native. He was pretty sure to give 
it to the wrong person. 

Some of the cases were slight, chiefly 
requiring rest in bed and good food ; 
others were brought in from the Veldt 
in a serious condition, and demanded con- 
stant attention. When these more serious 
cases were in hospital, we took it in turns 
to remain for twenty -four hours on duty. 
Tiring as this was, we found it answered 
better than if one of us had remained on 

2i8 ADVENTURES chap. 

night duty, and the other on day. What 
with cooking, nursing, and the general 
superintendence of the natives, the work 
involved in keeping huts, hospital, and 
compound in a state of spotless cleanli- 
ness was considerable. One Sister on day 
duty would have had to work without pause 
from six in the morning till night time. 
Hard work soon tells on women and men 
in a tropical climate. However we both 
had excellent health, were both really fond 
of nursing, and did not grudge the hard 

Little by little the great barn, dignified 
by the name of " hospital " became, con- 
sidering the circumstances, a comfortable 
retreat. Sister Lucy made some capital 
wooden trays out of packing-cases. Our 
white linen aprons were useless, for we 
had no time to starch and iron. Indeed, 
there was no starch to be had. We, there- 
fore, converted them into napkins for the 
hospital trays. By means of these con- 
trivances we were able to serve the 


patients' food, such as it was, nicely enough. 
Every one knows that the manner in which 
nourishment is offered to a sick man is 
very nearly as important as the food itself. 
I think our trays, rude as they were, with 
their white napkins and little bunches of 
flowers, often tempted a patient to eat, 
and so gave him a first impulse towards 

We were lucky enough to secure a 
number of Italian silk rugs from a trader, 
who had brought them to Mashonaland, 
" on spec " as he said. They served as 
quilts, and their bright colours gave the 
wards a very cheery air. When we had 
covered the mud walls with the pale prim- 
rose-coloured native mats, and had obtained 
brick floors, and cupboards for blankets, 
dressings, and sundries, we felt we could 
do little more to the place. It was then 
that we turned our attentions to col- 
lecting money for the creation of a brick 

We had bought cows, and started a 


poultry yard. The hospital was, therefore, 
plentifully supplied with milk, eggs, and 
fowls. The fowls proved very trouble- 
some. A Mashona hen is a thoroughly 
undisciplined bird. She lays her tiny eggs 
in a rush, and then refuses to lay for 
weeks. If you keep her shut up, however 
large the enclosure, you will not get an 
egg. If you let her run free, she lays 
in the most inconvenient places — preferably 
in one's bed. Therefore, as soon as one 
or two neighbours started poultry farms, 
we gave up our fowls. 

It was some time, too, before we could 
manage our cows. The breed in Mashona- 
land is small and very pretty, not unlike the 
Kerry cow. But what a difference in dis- 
position ! The Mashona cow refuses to give 
any milk, unless she is first allowed to feed 
her calf for a few moments. The calf is then 
dragged away and held under the cow's nose, 
whilst a native milks hurriedly. For a short 
time the cow appears unaware of what is 
going on. Then suddenly the milk ceases. 


The calf is again had recourse to, and is 
again torn away. So it goes on till a certain 
amount of milk is obtained. Milking is thus 
a long process, involving great noise, low- 
ings, and shoutings. Sometimes cow and 
calf burst their bonds and escape, with a 
crowd of yelling natives after them. A very 
good cow gives twelve pints of milk a day. 
Such a milker is indeed a treasure. From 
six to eight pints is the usual quantity ob- 
tained. We left the hospital in possession 
of a herd of ten beautiful cows. It gave one 
a delightful homelike feeling to see them 
driven up from the pastures in the evening. 
One or two of them were great favourites, 
and would trot up to have their heads 
scratched, and get. a crust of bread. 

Though Umtali owned a baker, and there 
were moments when he sold very good little 
cakes, yet we were never quite sure whether 
he was going to send any bread or not. For 
a long time it came at all sorts of hours and 
in all sorts of conditions. Having asked one 
day why there were so many pebbles in the 

222 ADVENTURES chap. 

loaves, I was told that it was owing to the 
baker's method of kneading his dough. 
Being generally " on the burst," he had great 
difficulty in mixing his flour. When it was 
ready for kneading, he would think he saw 
masses of dough all round him. Then, after 
making rushes in every direction, and failing 
to grasp anything solid, he would pull him- 
self together, and dash at his table, falling 
presently with a clash into the dough, and 
rolling with it on the floor. One day, the 
story goes, he tried to bake himself in his 
own oven. His natives pulled him out, and 
put him to bed. They did not see that the 
dough was in bed before him, so the next 
day Manica was breadless. Such tales are 
very likely to have been exaggerated. I tell 
them as they were told to me. They are 
certainly strictly in character and true to 
local colour. 

To return to the hospital. Our day was 
mapped out as follows. At six o'clock one 
of us called the natives, had fires lit and tea 
made, served round the early tea to the 


patients, and saw the hospital boy start sweep- 
ing. For a long time we had no brooms, 
but used branches of a sort of aromatic 
shrub, which left a pleasant fresh smell. 
Then the beds were made, blankets put out 
in the sun, bed tables scrubbed, tempera- 
tures taken, medicines given, and the patients 
washed. Meanwhile, whichever of us was 
not taking the hospital work that morning 
went to the kitchen, saw it thoroughly 
cleaned, and had all the water-buckets filled 
for the day. Then the patients' trays were 
put ready, and their breakfasts prepared. 
These were sent over to the hospital at about 
a quarter to eight. First the full diets, 
generally consisting of porridge, coffee, or 
tea, toast, eggs or rissoles, which we manu- 
factured fairly successfully. Then the light 
diets were sent over. Cases on liquid diet 
were fed in small quantities, and often, night 
and day of course. After the hospital break- 
fast was served, ours was cooked. Then we 
saw to the washing up of all the things, the 
sweeping of our huts and the compound, 

224 ADVENTURES chap. 

sent for the meat, and prepared for dinner. 
Between ten and eleven the doctor went 
round, and, after his visit, there were often, 
of course, fresh medicines, lotions, and so on, 
to be attended to. At eleven the patients 
had luncheon — beef-tea or milk — and there 
were generally a good many odds and ends 
to do, as nursing does not consist only in 
running round and serving medicines or food. 
Then came temperatures and medicines again. 
At half-past twelve there was dinner, followed 
by our luncheon. Then the patients had a 
small wash, and generally went to sleep. 
The natives were very slow about washing 
up, so we took it in turns to watch them 
clean and put everything tidily away. Un- 
less there were bad cases in hospital 
there was generally a respite till half-past 
three, when the blankets were taken in out 
of the sun, and put away. Then came 
medicine and temperatures again, and tea, 
and, after that, the doctor went round. When 
our tea was finished, the patients' beds were 
re-made. Supper followed. We had ours as 


soon after as possible. When this repast was 
finished, one of us saw to everything being 
washed and put away ; while the other went 
over to the hospital, took temperatures, gave 
medicines, supplied drinks for the night, and 
made every one as comfortable as possible. 
If the cases were not severe, and did not 
require attention at night, we did not sit up. 
A native slept within, in the small middle 
room between the two wards, in case of an 
emergency. This was the routine, which 
lasted without a break from January, 1892, to 
September, 1892. It was somewhat varied 
by bad cases, which could not be left night 
or day ; and by the disappearance of natives, 
which obliged one to do the cleaning instead 
of seeing that it was done ; but on the whole 
it was continuous. 

In September, 1892, we obtained a cook, 
which lightened the work much, and gave us 
some leisure. By this time, too, contact 
with white men had much improved the boys, 
and they became more like those to be met 
with in Kimberley and Johannesburg. If 


they were taught their work they would 
begin it, and go on with it without continual 
following up. Every month of the last six 
months we spent at Umtali made the condi- 
tions of life easier, and we were able to leave 
the incoming nurses in comparatively com- 
fortable surroundings. 

The first case we lost in New Umtali was 
Mr. Montague Bowden, the well - known 
cricketer. He was singularly handsome, 
popular, and with every chance of success in 
trading and prospecting enterprises. 

In February 1892 Mr. Bowden, while 
travelling from Salisbury to Umtali, was 
thrown from his cart, but was apparently 
uninjured. The day after his arrival he 
played in a cricket match, and it was observed 
that he was in bad form. The next day but 
one he had an epileptic seizure, and was 
conveyed to the hospital. His temperature 
rose to 107, and he passed away very peace- 
fully on the fourth day after his admittance. 
On account of the heat it was necessary to 
keep the doors and windows of the room, 


where he lay, wide open, and a man with a 
loaded revolver sat there all night to protect 
the corpse from wild beasts. 

Next day he was buried, the whole com- 
munity attending his funeral. With great 
difficulty, owing to the scarcity of wood, 
a coffin had been made out of whisky cases. 
It was covered with dark blue limbo. A 
card, bearing his name and age, was nailed to 
the lid. Beneath it we placed a large cross 
of flowers. The remains were carried across 
the compound to a bullock -cart, and the 
melancholy procession started. We lingered 
to watch it wind across the plain, until it dis- 
appeared from view, and then with sad steps 
returned to the wards. 

Almost immediately after Mr. Bowden's 
death a great disturbance was caused by the 
behaviour of our dispenser. He had been 
"on the burst" more or less ever since 
Christmas, and took to giving out medicines 
without measuring them. One of the patients 
was taking powders which contained a certain 
amount of opium, and, after swallowing two 

238 ADVENTURES chap. 

or three of these powders, he began to show 
symptoms which seemed to point to opium 
poisoning. Suspecting what had happened, 
we had the powders re-weighed, and found 
he was taking nearly four times the quantity 
of opium prescribed in each dose. The 
doctor was hurriedly sent for. He said 
there was no doubt about the patient's 
symptoms, and ordered the usual antidotes 
to be employed. The Magistrate then 
appeared on the scene. 

Hearing what he had done, the dispenser 
seized a bottle of laudanum, and fled towards 
the river. After him went the Magistrate 
and his myrmidons, recruiting several 
amateur police on the way. The dispenser 
had a considerable start, however, the grass 
was already long, the chase promised to be 
exciting. Would he have swallowed the 
poison before they could reach him ? Use- 
less fears ! The fugitive had carried off not 
only a phial of laudanum, but a bottle of 
whisky. When he was caught the phial was 
full, the bottle empty ! He was marched to 


the camp, and lodged in gaol ; native police- 
men with levelled rifles watched him night 
and day. Finally, he was released, and 
requested " not to try it on again." 

Of course he ceased to be the hospital 
dispenser. I say " of course," but probably, 
if we had not made a stand, he would have 
been reinstated in his dispensary. Hearing 
that there was some question of it, we sent 
the Magistrate a formal declaration to the 
effect that we must refuse to administer 
medicines prepared by this man. The 
matter was referred to the Administrator, 
and a great inquiry followed. About a 
hundred and fifty sheets of foolscap, covered 
with affirmations and declarations, came and 
went between Fort Salisbury and Umtali, 
and in the end the dispenser was dis- 

A month or two later Dr. Lichfield left. 
He is now district surgeon at Victoria. Dr. 
Matthew Johnston from St. Bartholomew's 
took his place. 

Before this change was effected, however, 

230 ADVENTURES chap. 

I nearly lost Sister Lucy. She fell ill in 
March ; that same day all our natives fled. I 
had one little boy, eight years of age, to do 
everything. There were only six cases in 
hospital, but four were desperately bad, and 
two were convalescents, just beginning to be 

From five in the morning till ten at night 
I was unceasingly at work, going from Sister 
Lucy to the hospital, thence to the kitchen. 
There was no idea of going to bed. Sister 
Lucy was much too ill for that. I had a 
white man sitting up in the hospital, but it 
was necessary to go across continually. The 
police volunteered their help when Sister 
Lucy got worse, and kindly undertook the 
kitchen work, which was an immense help. 

I cannot describe the anxiety of that week, 
it was like an evil dream to look back upon. 
I lost one patient, a fever case, with bad 

Sister Lucy never had a very high tem- 
perature ; her fever took the form of constant 
vomiting and tendency to collapse. She 


used to say that the worst part of it all was 
when she was a little better. She could not 
reconcile herself to being in bed, whilst she 
heard the sound of my steps, backwards and 
forwards, all day long. The heat, too, was 
burning — the sun actually seemed to sting as 
it touched one. It is these first hot days, 
when the rains are nearly over, that bring 
the worst phases of fever. However, Sister 
Lucy happily recovered, and was soon able 
to take her share of the work. 

About this time we lost another patient. 
He was brought in unconscious after a 
tremendous " burst." He died after a suc- 
cession of the most terrible epileptiform 
attacks I have ever seen. When his affairs 
were examined, it was found that out of a 
bill to the amount of ^50, ^39 were due 
for whisky ! 

The Resident Magistrate, one of the 
kindest and best fellows in the world, now 
left Umtali. He was replaced by another 
man, the third who had governed Manica 
in our short experience. 

232 ADVENTURES chap. 

The new Magistrate was a business-like 
person. At first we were afraid that he 
too was tarred with the usual Umtali brush, 
as his hand shook so much that he could not 
hold a tea-cup steadily. 

We were mistaken. With his advent 
began the reign of law and order. Regular 
hours for the opening and shutting of bars 
were established. Between its periodical 
" bursts," the township enjoyed long intervals 
of sobriety. Perhaps for a week at a time 
not a case of drunkenness would occur, and 
in proportion to the decrease of drink, so 
did the fever diminish, without, however, 
entirely dying out. 

Civilisation now began to make progress 
in Mashonaland, the stores were well sup- 
plied, creature comforts were plentiful. The 
projected railway from Beira to Umtali was 
much talked of. We were assured that 
when we left Umtali in 1893, we should 
depart in the train, and to a certain extent 
this prediction was verified. 

Meanwhile an interesting event occurred. 


The first English baby was born in Mashona- 
land. Mrs. Tulloch, the plucky wife of a 
prospector, had had herself, as has been 
already mentioned, and two children carried 
up in machilas from the coast. She arrived 
whilst we were still in Old Umtali, and had 
but lately come over to the new township. 

We offered her the use of one of our huts 
for the confinement, but she preferred remain- 
ing at home, and Dr. and Mrs. Lichfield 
undertook to look after her. The very day 
the child was born, Mr. Tulloch was carried 
into hospital in a semi-delirious state. We 
had several patients in hospital at the time, 
but, had we imagined that the poor mother 
would have been left alone all night, one 
of us would certainly have gone to her. 
As it was, she spent the whole of that night 
alone with her children, and a native boy, 
who fled before morning. A native woman 
from the coast, obtained with much difficulty, 
was also there, but stupid with drink. The 
hut had no door, and was at some distance 
from neighbours. 

234 ADVENTURES chap. 

Bad symptoms set in during the night. 
In the morning when the doctor called, he 
found, to his horror, that a number of wild 
natives had entered the hut, and were sitting 
round the patient's bed clamouring for her 
to trade. He very quickly got rid of them, 
but Mrs. Tulloch was in a high fever. It 
was urgent to remove her to the hospital, so 
we hurriedly prepared a hut for her recep- 
tion, and sent the ambulance to fetch her. 
She was in a critical condition, and we had 
little hope of saving her. 

One wild, windy evening, as we were 
attending to her, a gust of wind tore out the 
limbo that was nailed over the window, and 
sent it fluttering into the candle. In less 
time than it takes to describe, the whole hut 
was in a blaze. A straw from the roof had 
caught fire, and long ladders of flame ran up 
the thatch. We tried to tear it down, to 
throw up water — in vain. Sister Lucy ran 
to the dispenser's hut, where Mr. Tulloch 
happened to be dining. I remained with his 


Meanwhile burning thatch began to fall 
into the hut. Plucky as she was, I feared 
Mrs. Tulloch would lose her presence of 
mind, and jump out of bed. Wrapping a 
blanket round her, I carried her to the door, 
and soon had the satisfaction of seeing her 
husband carry her over to the hospital, where 
there was an empty ward. 

All our huts caught fire, and the flames 
lit up the whole valley. Magistrate and 
police rushed over from the camp, tore down 
the blazing thatch, and saved what things 
they could from the general destruction. 
The whole of Umtali, in fact, precipitated 
itself from the township to the hospital. 

The men were eager to help, but were 
hardly in a condition to be of much use. In 
a burst of zeal one man rushed to the river, 
a third of a mile away, and fetched a bucket 
of water. Just as he reached the hospital, he 
tumbled head over heels, giving himself a 
thorough drenching. Then, cooled and 
sobered, he retired to bed, and was heard of 
no more. One of the guardians of law and 

236 ADVENTURES chap. 

order dropped a bottle of whisky as he 
lurched across the compound. On this the 
doctor pounced, declaring it forfeited to the 
hospital. Other men piled the thatch back on 
the fire, and nearly burnt down the hospital. 
One man, at the peril of his life, rushed into 
the burning hut, shouting, " Down, flames ; I 
command you to go out." He was promptly 
dragged out, and marched off to prison, where, 
I heard, he complained bitterly of the green 
spiders and other abnormal reptiles. 

With great difficulty the kitchen was 
saved. We had the sweetest little black- 
faced monkey. It went quite mad with 
fright, and bit me badly as I carried it out of 
the kitchen, and we had to keep it in the dark 
for a whole day, before its nerves recovered 
from the shock. At last we got the com- 
pound clear, and arranged ourselves as best 
we could in the hospital. I must not forget 
to say, that when the men got back to the 
township, they sent us over everything they 
could think of that might be of any use. 
People may be very foolish and tipsy in a 


pioneer camp, but they are also very generous 
and warm-hearted — qualities which cover a 
multitude of sins. 

For a few days after this excitement, Mrs. 
Tulloch appeared to improve, but then she 
became worse than ever. For eleven days 
and nights, Sister Lucy and I never rested 
for more than an hour or so at a time. One 
had the baby, the other took the mother. 
Very naturally, the baby, after the first few 
days, was a perfect little demon of fretfulness. 
In the midst of our anxiety, Dr. Johnston, 
from Salisbury, came to replace Dr. Lichfield. 
He never expected to pull our patient 
through, but eventually succeeded in doing so. 

Seven weeks after his birth, " Cecil 
Rhodes Tulloch " was christened in one of 
our newly built huts by Canon Balfour, who 
at this time came for a few days to Umtali. 
After the ceremony Mrs. Tulloch was borne 
away in a machila ; a small boy carrying the 
newly made Christian. A baby's bottle had 
been improvised out of a pickle bottle, and a 
glass tube run through a cork. This the 


natives concluded to be something very 
precious. One boy headed the march, hold- 
ing it aloft. Thus, borne away in triumphant 
procession, the baby which had tyrannised 
over us for so long vanished out of our lives 
for ever. 


A free day — A visit to Chiconga — Climbing a kopje — The 
kraal — Gungunyama's raids — The council hut — The 
chieftainess and her " warriors " — Her answer to the 
Bishop — We trade — Fashion amongst natives — A blind 
Lovelace — Instance of ferocity — Kissing — Intelligent 
children — Absence of religious notions — Differences 
of language — Ancient gold workings — Worship of 
Isis — Mosaic Law — Small-pox — Inoculation — Native 
vanity — Inferior iron-work — Carved snuff-boxes — Fire- 
sticks — Principal food — Produce — Curious calabashes 
— Disgusting reports — Chiconga's return visit — A 
chief's assegai — A demand for fire-water — A Woman's 
Rights argument — The royal baby — An endless visit — 
Jonosso to the rescue — The Queen retires. 

Taking advantage of one of the rare occa- 
sions when we had a free day, we paid a 
visit to Chiconga, M'Tassa's favourite daugh- 
ter. The chieftainess inhabited a kraal five 
miles distant from New Umtali. It was said 
to be a very picturesque spot, and well worth 
a visit. Accompanied by Mr. Walter Sutton, 

240 ADVENTURES chap. 

and attended by two native boys, we there- 
fore set out one morning soon after six 
o'clock. We were on foot ; the boys carry- 
ing beads and limbo, as we wished to trade 
for a cow. 

Our path led us for some distance along 
the high road to Fort Salisbury, a picturesque 
track, winding between thickly-wooded hills. 
Here and there it struck over the open veldt, 
skirting the strange granite kopjes, which 
form an important feature in Mashonaland 
landscape. These piles of colossal boulders, 
springing abruptly from a tableland of veldt, 
look as if they had been built up by giants. 
Trees clothe the summit of these kopjes, and 
wild beasts lurk in the caves formed by their 
overhanging rocks. 

On the topmost pinnacle of the largest of 
them, Chiconga and her people had built 
their village. From this eminence the ap- 
proach of an enemy could be distinguished 
whilst he was yet miles away. Nor was the 
precaution a vain one. The Mashonas are 
a nation of rabbits scared by a gesture, 


peaceful and indolent. But Gungunyama, 
the great Gazaland chief, has, more than 
once, sent his warriors to raid in Manica. 
We were told that it had often happened 
that three or four of his men entered a kraal, 
massacred a hundred Mashonas, and carried 
off women and cattle, without encounter- 
ing an attempt at resistance. Hence the 
Mashonas build their villages in the most 
inaccessible places. 

We found Chiconga's kraal very difficult 
to reach. The path was so steep as to be 
almost perpendicular. Only one person 
could advance at a time, and without the 
aid of our surefooted boys we should never 
have reached the summit. Hot and breath- 
less, we were glad to rest on a grassy plateau 
outside the high stockade which enclosed 
the kraal. 

Here a number of natives were lying under 
the shadow of a tree. Some were binding 
together the split reeds of which native mats 
are made. Others were playing a game 
that seemed nearly related to draughts. The 


men were made of bits of wood ; the board 
had been roughly mapped out on the rock 
with the "chipanga," or knife, which all 
natives carry. One and all professed great 
surprise at our appearance, though of course 
we knew they had seen our approach more 
than an hour before, and had probably 
watched with amusement our struggles up 
the steep sides ot the kopje. When we 
asked for admittance to the kraal one of the 
natives pushed aside a heavy door swinging 
between two rocks, and invited us to enter. 
The door was made of wood, black with 
age, and was evidently half of the trunk of an 
enormous tree, of a species no longer exist- 
ing in the country. In order to follow our 
guide we had to bend nearly double, the 
entrance was so low ; and in this undignified 
position we made our entry to the village. 

This consisted of a group of wretched 
huts, badly built and thatched. In the 
midst of these were several circular earth- 
works — not unlike colossal acorn-cups. These 
were thatched more carefully. We were told 


that they were the granaries of the com- 
munity. The plateau on which the huts 
were built was kept fairly clean. Pigeons 
fluttered among the dwellings. Imp -like 
children darted in and out of the rocks. 

The view from this spot was splendid. 
Unrolled at our feet, like a huge map, the 
plain stretched away for leagues, mingling 
at length with the distant hills that fringed 
the horizon. We should have liked to 
admire it for many moments, but the head- 
man, or induna, now appeared, and requested 
us to go to the "council hut." So, creeping 
through a low door, we seated ourselves on 
clean mats which had been spread out for us. 
Our natives squatted outside. 

After we had waited for some time, a 
loud clapping of hands was heard, and 
Chiconga made her appearance, followed 
by fifty or sixty men. She entered the 
hut, and squatted on a mat opposite to us. 
As soon as she was seated, she began to 
sway backwards and forwards, and clap 
her hands. This is a greeting expressive 


of welcome and respect. We wondered 
whether we too ought to clap, and I put 
the question in Portuguese to our boy. He 
answered, " No," and entered the hut, and 
after clapping and bobbing for a long time, 
stood up and made a speech. He in- 
formed Chiconga that we were great chief- 
tainesses and witch - women. The white 
man came to us sick, and we healed him. 
The country belonged to us ; the white men 
were our servants. We spoke, and they 
made thunder and lightning ! Whenever he 
paused, the " warriors," who crouched behind 
Chiconga — and who, by the way, could not 
have said Boh ! to a goose — clapped loudly. 

Chiconga then declared that we were 
welcome. She was small, slight, very ugly, 
and not unlike an ill-nourished monkey. A 
piece of very dirty blue limbo was wound round 
her. We thought her very much less queen- 
like than the Maquaniqua who had come to 
see us at Sabi Ophir. But she was a gentle 
savage, not without mother-wit. The Bishop 
relates in his Journal, that, having paid her 


a visit, he asked if she would like to learn 
his religion. After a moment's silence, she 
answered : "If you do not proceed on your 
way, it will be dark before you reach the 
next village." Truly a woman, savage or 
civilized, is rarely at a loss for an answer ! 

Our boys now unpacked the trading stuff, 
and, first offering the chieftainess a present 
of a gaily-striped blanket, we proceeded to 
trade for a cow, fowls, mealies, and other 
things we wanted. Each family had some- 
thing to sell, pumpkins, white beans, or 

They were very particular about the 
colour and size of the beads they accepted. 
Fashion is as autocratic in a native kraal 
as in the big village by the Thames. Blue 
and white beads had been the rage six 
months before ; now no one could possibly 
wear anything but red ones. They were 
very particular too about the limbo they 
liked. Far from delighting in gaudy and 
grotesque patterns, they only approved of 
plain colours — dark blue or crimson. They 


preferred white to anything. Chiconga took 
£2 and four blankets for a very pretty cow. 
She presented us with a pair of pigeons 
in return for the blanket we had offered 
on arriving. 

It amused us to see the respect with 
which her followers treated her. When- 
ever she spoke, they clapped. Once she 
went to the door, and spat outside ; they 
all clapped solemnly ! Meanwhile no other 
woman dared approach the " council hut." 

They seemed a simple, harmless people ; 
yet bursts of ferocity were not uncommon 
among them. 

A blind man, who used to wander about 
Manica, playing on a native piano, from 
which he extracted sounds not unlike those 
produced by a Jew's harp, was an example 
of this. He was an unusually good-looking 
man, in spite of his sightless eyes, and had 
married some relation of the chief M'Tassa. 
He had several wives, but the savour of 
forbidden fruit is relished in Manica as well 
as in Paris, and in an evil hour for him it 


was discovered that he had been paying court 
to a neighbour's wife. Consulting together, 
his "lawful wives" seized him one night; 
tied him to a tree ; and, whilst one held a 
torch, another tore his eyes out with a 
cow horn. The next day they drove 
him from the kraal, and since then he had 
wandered from place to place — a homeless 

Since our return home, many people 
have asked us whether kissing is a natural 
expression of affection, or a product of 
civilisation. Decidedly the latter ; and I 
have never seen any native show signs of 
strong affection for either mothers or 
children. The latter are very quick and 
intelligent, capable of learning almost any- 
thing that it may occur to one to 
teach. But, as they grow up, they seem to 
become dull. The savage's intelligence, 
unlike that of a white man, ceases to develope 
at a very early age. In working with 
natives it is necessary to be very careful 
never to alter the routine they have been 

248 ADVENTURES chap. 

taught. If a boy has been accustomed to 
wash cups before plates, and you reverse 
the order, he will spend the day in a state 
of bewilderment. We took a great deal of 
trouble to find out what notions of religion 
the Mashonas possessed. It was, however, 
impossible to discover that they believed in 
anything. Asked if they believed in a life 
after death, they usually shrieked with 
laughter at such an idea. "An ox dies, 
you buy another. A man dies, you cannot 
replace him. That is the only difference." 
We could never get a more satisfactory 
answer, and Mr. Selous told us that he had 
had the same experience. We heard, how- 
ever, that at one or two kraals the natives 
were beginning to believe that their chiefs 
had spirits, which, after death, animated 
lions or serpents, and often haunted the 

Unlike the Matabele or the Zulu, the 
Mashonas did not appear to form one tribe. 
The different groups of kraals seemed to 
have little to do with each other. Indeed 


two natives, living but a few miles from each 
other, often spoke quite a different dialect. 
For instance, one would call a door "lima," 
— another " rufa." Some made continual 
clicking sounds, from others you never heard 
a click at all. Though nominally king of 
Manica, M'Tassa had little authority outside 
his own kraal, and even within its limits it 
was often disputed. 

Some authorities are of opinion that the 
Mashonas were the descendants of Egyptian 
slaves, brought to Manica in gangs to work 
the gold. The whole country is riddled 
with old workings. Some of the mountains 
are honey-combed with drives and tunnels. 
The fact that the natives dance to the new 
moon, without appearing to know why, is 
said to be a trace of the worship of I sis. 
That a childless widow marries her brother- 
in-law, and that any children she may have 
rank as those of her dead husband, is con- 
sidered to be a trace of the law of Moses. 

One and all inoculate for small-pox, making 
three punctures above the elbow. Questioned 


as to the origin of this practice, they told us 
that, " more moons ago than there were men 
on earth," a "great chief" had taught them 
to do it. These native kraals are said to be 
the original homes of small-pox, and are 
rarely free from it. As a rule the disease 
takes a mild form, but when we were in 
Manica, many hundreds were said to have 
died from it. Certainly inoculation had 
failed to check the spread of the malady. 
Yet the various doctors, who examined the 
boys' arms, appeared to think the operation 
had been well, and even very neatly, per- 

In general the Mashona is undersized 
and thin. Many of them, however, though 
small, were beautifully made. They were 
all muscle, hard as steel, with small bones 
and skins of exceeding fineness and beauty. 
Many a lady might envy the smallness of 
their hands, the slenderness of their wrists 
and ankles. Now and then one came across 
a native so purely Egyptian in type, so 
melancholy and impassive, that he might 


have been a Pharaoh working out his Karma 
— a slave among slaves. 

Natives spend an immense time adorn- 
ing themselves. Many of them plait their 
wool into hundreds of little tails, which stick 
up all over their heads. Beads, buttons, and 
bits of brass wire are often woven into these 
tails. Some weave their hair into a sort of 
bird's nest ; others into a castellated structure, 
which must take years to perfect. They 
adorn themselves with bead necklaces and 
tiger-cat skins. They are not keen hunters, 
being too timid to chase either lions or 

Their pottery consists only of large round 
earthenware pots, coarsely made, which 
serve to keep water cold on the hottest day. 
The natives also cook in them. Their iron 
work for assegai blades or arrow-heads is 
very poor indeed. The arrow-heads in 
especial are remarkably rude, and far inferior 
to those made in other parts of Africa. But 
they carve beautiful little snuff-boxes, and 
curious wooden head -rests to sleep upon. 


The brass work too on some of their knives 
was very well done. They still use the fire- 
sticks for producing fire, though such kraals 
as are in touch with the white men have 
learnt to appreciate Bryant and May. They 
live principally on " Kaffir corn," as it is 
called. This grain grows on stalks, not 
unlike mealie-stalks, which reach the height 
of ten or eleven feet. It is dark, like linseed, 
when cooked, and has a heavy, sweetish taste. 
We used it with great success for poultices. 

The natives also grow rice, tobacco, sweet 
potatoes, sugar-cane in small quantities, and 
pumpkins. Out of gourds they make curious 
drinking vessels. Whilst the gourd is still 
growing they tie thongs of bark tightly round 
it in different places, thus forcing the fruit to 
grow in strange, quaint shapes. The most 
usual arrangement is that of a long straight 
handle, with a cup-like bowl at one end. 
When the fruit is ripe the natives carefully 
scoop out the interior, and dry the rind in 
the sun. These "calabashes" are very 
useful. The native stands on a rock, or on 


a bank, and by means of his long-handled 
" calabash " scoops up the river water without 
wetting himself. Except when engaged in 
swimming and diving, the Mashona has a 
horror of getting wet. His dread of rain is 
strange, considering that he has no clothes 
to spoil. 

Though these natives live chiefly on 
vegetable diet, they are very fond of meat. 
If a cow dies anywhere on the veldt, they 
troop to it, disputing its carcase with the 
vultures. A number of natives will encamp 
round the spoil, and not move till the last 
bone has been picked clean. Decomposition 
has no terror for them. They enjoy a smell 
which sickens the very jackals. 

With all their faults, we could not help 
getting fond of our boys ; they were invari- 
ably cheerful, and they moved so noiselessly. 
We always found the raw native to be strictly 

The day after we had visited Chiconga's 
kraal, she sent us a messenger bearing an 
assegai entirely made of iron. These 

spears being only used by chiefs, it is con- 
sidered an honour to receive one. Chiconga 
was not for behind her messenger. She 
arrived with an escort of sixty or seventy 
people — old and young men, and boys of all 
ages, One of these last carried her baby. 

Being made welcome, and requested to 
enter our hut, the w Queen** seated herself 
on a box, while her husbands sat on the 
ground beside her. We ottered her a 
present of limbo and beads, then, sending for 
coffee, handed her a cup. This she did not 
like the look of. Therefore, in spite of his 
reluctance, one of her husbands had to taste 
it first He disapproved emphatically, spit- 
ting it out behind the box on which his wife 
was seated. Chiconga then declined the 
coffee, suggesting that she understood, and 
liked, whisky better. We told her that " fire- 

v r was the drink of men, not of women, 
but we could not make her see the force of 
the argument If white men liked it and 
drank it, why should not white women do 
so ? What was good for men. was good for 


women too, at least for chieftainesses ! This 
Woman's Rights argument finding voice in a 
country where women are mere beasts of 
burden, amused us greatly. We compro- 
mised the question. We had received a 
present of port wine, and now offered her 
some. This beverage met with her ap- 
proval But, finding her prepared to drink 
mugsfull of it there and then, we were forced 
to violate the laws of hospitality, and have 
the bottle carried away. 

A tin of lump sugar had been sent to us a 
few days before. This sugar delighted 
Chiconga, who ate quantities of it, and 
begged for some to take away — a request 
which we of course acceded to. Every now 
and then the baby, which had remained 
outside with all the other followers, set up a 
shrill cry — then its mother would run out and 
feed it. Remembering that in lying-in- 
hospitals there is a stringent rule that babies 
must be fed regularly, at stated intervals, I 
was interested to note that the savage infant 
is allowed to suck as often as it likes, and 


thrives exceedingly on these irregular 
repasts. A white baby, fenced in by rules 
and regulations, smothered in a bundle of 
senseless clothes, is an unhappy little atom 
compared to his black brother. 

Before long we began to wonder when 
Chiconga meant to go. There seemed no 
near prospect of getting rid of her. At 
length a happy thought occurred to us. We 
had got a small block of incense, such as the 
Malays use during their ceremonies. We 
told Jonosso to light some, and fumigate the 
hut. When he had done so, he gravely 
informed Chiconga that farewells ought to 
follow incense burning. Upon which she 
arose, offered us her hand a rAnglaise, and 
departed with all her train. 


A tale of horror — " Smelling out witches " — Maronka — His 
prisoner — An expedition to rescue him — The encamp- 
ment — Lions — Native carried off — Half devoured — 
Horses attacked — Night of terror — A plucky terrier — 
The dead lioness — Maronka submits — Mr. Carden — 
Home again — Another lion story — Vogler — Besieged 
by lions — A terrible situation — No water — Rescued — 
Too late — Vogler's death — More lions — Siege of 
Umtali — Warlike funeral — Night alarm — A reign of 
terror — Township attacked — Tracked to his lair — 
The dead monarch — Lying in state — At peace once 

Two or three people — amongst them Mr. 
Bent — having spent three months in Ma- 
shonaland, assert that lions do not exist 
there. Such is not our experience, as the 
following pages will show. 

One morning a native entered the camp, 
bringing a tale of horror to the Magistrate's ear. 
A chief called Maronka, whose kraal was about 

258 ADVENTURES chap. 

forty miles distant, had seized his family and 
boiled them alive. He and his brother had 
escaped, but the latter had been recaptured, 
and he himself pursued as he fled to Umtali 
to ask the protection of the White Chief. 

Maronka and his people had emerged 
from the state of belief in nothing, and were 
passing through the barbarous superstitious 
stage. They believed that, after death, the 
souls of their chiefs passed into the bodies of 
lions, though still holding that the generality 
of the tribe were soulless. They had power- 
ful witch-doctors, and ''smelt-out" witches, 
much in the manner described in Rider 
Haggard's novels. 

The family of the native who had escaped 
to our camp had been " smelt out," and, if 
his brother were not rescued, he would be 
condemned to some horrible death. 

The Magistrate immediately sent out 
police to demand the release of the prisoner. 
Receiving no satisfactory answer, he set out 
with his men to force the chief to yield. 

The first night's camp was undisturbed ; 


and, next day, the white men reached the 
foot of the kopje on the top of which 
Maronka's kraal was perched. The night 
was moonless, the darkness intense. Having 
collected a quantity of wood, two circles of fires 
were lit. In the outer circle were the natives 
and some of the white men ; in the inner 
circle the rest of the police and the horses. 

Towards one o'clock in the morning the 
Magistrate went round to see that the fires 
were being kept up, and the watchmen at 
their posts. Before turning in he paused to 
replenish a fire in the outer circle, near which 
he himself was sleeping. The flames leapt 
up, shedding a ruddy glare which empha- 
sised the surrounding darkness. One or two 
natives were sleeping by the fire. As the 
Magistrate turned away, a monstrous dark 
shape bounded over the flames, seized a 
native, and vanished with him as noiselessly 
as it had appeared. 

The alarm was given, and in an instant 
the encampment was on foot. The native 
who had been carried away did not lose con- 

26o ADVENTURES chap. 

sciousness or presence of mind. " This 
way," he kept shouting. " Mai we ! oh, 
maiwe ! " — the native cry of anguish or of 
terror. " The lion, the lion ! he is eating 
my shoulder. Oh, my head ! This way — 
this way ! Quickly, white man ! " 

Several shots were fired in the direction 
of the cries ; and then, seizing flaming logs, a 
number of men rushed out into the darkness 
and long grass, firing as they went. Sud- 
denly the light of the torch revealed a 
horrible sight. A large lioness was lying on 
the unfortunate native, crunching up his 
shoulder. Again they fired, and, with a 
sullen roar, the great beast sprang into the 
grass and disappeared. Hurriedly they bore 
her victim back to the fires. Three minutes 
had scarcely elapsed since the lioness had 
leaped the fire in search of prey, but the 
poor native was in a pitiable condition. 
The whole of one shoulder and arm was a 
mass of shapeless, bloody pulp, and his scalp 
was torn from his head. He lived till 
morning, not appearing to suffer greatly, 


but, as the first rays of sunlight fell on his 
face, he uttered a cry and expired. 

Meanwhile a shout from the natives, who 
had swarmed up trees, drew attention to the 
horses. A lion bounded in amongst them, 
undeterred by noise or fires. The horses 
broke loose, and stampeded. Growls, snarls, 
a cry in the darkness, the sound of galloping 
horses, the ravings of the dying native, filled 
the remaining hours of the night with terror. 
It was indeed a relief to all when the sudden 
tropical day dawned at last. Action was 
now possible. Anything was better than 
sitting there in the darkness, waiting for 
what might happen. 

The first thing to do was to track and slay 
the lioness, and recover the horses — or such 
among them as were still alive. A plucky 
terrier called " Syndicate," who afterwards 
became our dog, set the party on the track of 
the lioness, actually putting her up like a 
partridge. He would have fallen a victim to 
his temerity, had not a timely shot disposed 
of the great cat. She had been severely 

262 ADVENTURES chap. 

wounded the night before, which accounted 
for her remaining so close to the encamp- 
ment. When the carcase was opened, it was 
found that she must have been many days 
without food. Much to their surprise and 
satisfaction, the police recovered all the 
horses. One or two were badly mauled, 
nearly all were scratched, but none of them 
died. It was conjectured that the other lions 
were large cubs. Had they been full grown, 
the horses would not have got off so easily. 

A messenger was now sent up to Maronka, 
informing him that if the prisoner were not 
delivered up within a certain time, the white 
men would seize his kraal and drive him 
out. After a very short palaver, Maronka 
yielded, sending back the prisoner, also a 
present of goats and fowls, to propitiate the 
wrath of the whites. 

The chief and his people believed that the 
lions which had attacked the encampment 
were animated by the souls of former chiefs 
seeking to defend the kraal. Since the whites 
had overcome the great Spirits, the resistance 


of mere mortals would be absurd. Maronka 
never gave any further trouble. One of the 
officers of the police, Mr. Carden, who is said 
to have shown unusual pluck during this 
night of horror, wrote a capital description of 
this episode to his people. It appeared in 
the Field, and excited much interest. 

News travels with incredible swiftness in 
Africa, losing nothing on the way. Long 
before the police returned, we heard vague 
and alarming accounts of lions, of men torn 
to pieces, and of horses killed. It may be 
imagined, therefore, how glad we were to see 
the expedition return safe and sound. More 
especially were we glad to welcome back Mr. 
Carden, who was one of our best friends. 
His hut, in the officers' quarters of the camp, 
was near our compound, and whenever we 
were in any difficulty — which was often — 
"Send for Mr. Carden," was the cry! Such 
a nice boy! full of fun, and steady as old Time. 
The type of a young English gentleman, 
whose people for generations had "feared 
God and honoured the king." He it was who 


told us another lion tale, — almost more terrible 
than the Maronka affair. 

A prospector named Vogler, camped some- 
where between Beira and Umtali, was search- 
ing for a reef supposed to be lying in that 
direction. One day some natives came to 
his camp, telling him that two white men 
were " besieged by lions" a hundred miles 
away, and that both were dead or dying. 
Vogler wasted no time, he knew that white 
men were encamped at the place indicated 
by the natives, and found that the latter, 
questioned individually, told a consistent tale. 
Taking with him a guide and a few boys to 
carry provisions, he walked the hundred miles 
in less than two days and a half. 

In front of the solitary hut, built at some 
distance from water, lay the bones of a lion ; 
several more had their lair in the bushes 
close by, according to the natives. With 
some difficulty Vogler obtained admission to 
the hut. There he found two white men in 
an indescribable condition. One man was 
lying on a rude stretcher apparently un- 


conscious ; the other was up and about, but 
looked a ghastly object. An intolerable smell 
poisoned the atmosphere. Having attended 
to the first wants of these two miserable men, 
Vogler asked what had happened. The man 
who was still conscious told him. 

His comrade, he said, had caught the fever, 
was very ill, and too weak to move. The 
natives had deserted, as they so often do in 
face of sickness. One night, hearing a noise 
round the hut, he thought the boys might 
have returned — perhaps with evil intentions. 
Taking his rifle, he threw open the door. It 
was a bright moonlight night. Straight in 
front of him, at a distance of about twenty 
paces, stood a large lion ; he fired, and killed 
it. As he lowered his gun, the lioness, which 
he had not perceived, stole noiselessly round 
the hut, seized his right hand, and literally 
tore it off. The man had presence of mind 
enough to dart back into the hut, and bang 
the door. It was a frail protection, being 
made of reeds ; but in spite of the terrible 
wound he found strength enough to pile sacks 

266 ADVENTURES chap. 

of rice against it. His right arm was a ghastly- 
stump, the broken bones sticking out through 
the bleeding flesh below the elbow. His 
hand was gone. Fearing that he would bleed 
to death, he melted a quantity of brown sugar 
and plunged the stump into it. It was, when 
Vogler saw it, still coated over with a hard 
mass of sugar. 

He now no longer dared to leave the hut. 
He and his friend had provisions, but no 
water. Part of their store was composed of 
tins of salmon and sardines. They bored 
holes in the tins, and drank the oil, and the 
horrible fish liquid. In this manner they had 
lived for seven days ! The man with fever 
had got gradually worse, and appeared likely 
to die, but he eventually recovered. U nfortun- 
ately, it was impossible to save the wounded 
man. The arm was gangrened and he died 
soon after Vogler's arrival. The latter himself 
told the story to Mr. Carden. 

Not long after, Vogler also went " beyond 
the sunset." He ordered himself to be 
carried to the hospital, but died in his 


" machila " before reaching it. His death 
took place in one of the loveliest spots near 
Umtali. There the road dips into a "donga." 
On the one side the sunlit veldt spreads 
away ; on the other a dense thicket casts a 
grateful shade over the road. At the time 
of year of which I am writing this thicket was 
ablaze with brilliant flowers — the blossoms 
of a sort of azalea. Every shade of red was 
here represented, from the palest faded rose 
to the most intense scarlet. Bright-coloured 
birds flitted through the branches. Butter- 
flies, with wings of metallic lustre, floated 
over the flowers. A perpetual hum of in- 
sects suggested drowsy summer idleness ; 
strange enervating perfumes steeped the 
senses in languor. It was surely a dreamy 
poetical place from whence to drift into the 
unknown. I am told, however, that this is 
quite a mistaken sentiment ; that to die in a 
bed, in a shaded room, with hospital walls 
around you, instead of banks of flowers, is a 
more suitable ending — "more satisfactory to 
one's friends." It may be so. For my part 


I envied Vogler's mode of passing away. 
"It is better to hear the lark sing than 
the mouse chepe," says the north-country pro- 
verb. I am sure it is full of wisdom, even 
though the listener's ears be dying ones. 

The roar of a lion, once the most familiar 
of nightly sounds, had, so far, never been 
heard in New Umtali. A visit from the 
king of beasts was the last thing any one 
expected ; it was, therefore, sure to be paid 
before long. 

One day two men drove from Salisbury 
to Umtali, borrowing, for the purpose, Dr. 
Jameson's mule cart. One of these gentle- 
men was a Mr. Robert Williams, well known 
in Africa as a successful speculator and a 
right good fellow. He was no novice in 
African travel, and scarcely was his cart out- 
spanned, than he asked if it was safe to leave 
the mules on the veldt for the night. Yes, 
was the universal answer. Between camp and 
township, oxen and donkeys roamed about all 
night ; none of them had ever been lost. 

Captain Heyman, of Masse-Kesse fame, 


had returned to Umtali as Resident Magis- 
trate and Civil Commissioner. The officials 
had hitherto succeeded each other like pictures 
in a magic -lantern, but Captain Heyman 
bade fair to be an exception to the rule. 
He had invited Mr. Williams to be his guest. 

That night we were up nearly all night 
with a bad case. Dr. Johnston had been re- 
called home ; his substitute had not arrived ; 
it was a time of anxiety of which I propose 
to speak in another chapter. One of us 
crossing over to the hospital on the night in 
question, was startled by a terrible yell, — a 
prolonged agonising shriek. It reminded 
one of the legends of the Banshee. 

As soon as the camp was astir, we sent 
to ask Mr. Carden if he had heard the 
noise, and knew what it was. His answer 
was a startling one. Lions had invaded 
the hitherto peaceful camp ; a mule, a 
donkey, and an ox had been killed within 
a few yards of the hospital. Two more 
mules were killed in the bush close to 
the Police Camp. It was the shriek of a 


mule, which the lion had disembowelled, that 
we had heard. The other creatures had had 
their necks broken, and died instantaneously. 
A lion springs on an ox, passes a paw under 
his jaw, gives his head a twist, and his neck 
is broken. The whole operation takes place 
with such rapidity that the ox cannot attempt 
to save 'itself, and, after the first moment of 
terror, probably suffers nothing. 

We heard no more of the lions for that 
day, but, after all the wild tales that floated 
about, it was impossible to cross the com- 
pound after dark without a thrill of terror. 
Our watch that night was a dismal one. 
Seated beside the dying man whose life was 
ebbing slowly away, we listened nervously to 
every sound, momentarily expecting some 
terrible catastrophe. Nothing happened, 
and at last morning dawned, and the terrors 
of the night seemed to vanish with the dark- 
ness. Our boys, however, informed us that 
the mules had again been attacked in the 
shelter in which they had been tied up, and 
had stampeded. One had fled away towards 


Salisbury, the other had been killed far from 
the camp. The lions, then, were still at hand. 
They were, indeed, nearer than any one sup- 
posed. At nine o'clock we saw a commotion 
in the Police Camp. The men had seized 
their rifles, and were all hurrying in one 

It appeared that a native who herded the 
cattle suddenly saw a lion spring out of the 
grass, and give chase to the oxen. He very 
nearly caught one, springing at it and scratch- 
ing it very severely. The natives' shouts 
scared the brute and raised the alarm in 
camp, the men turning out at once. Many 
shots were fired ; the pursuit was a hot one, 
but unsuccessful, the long grass making it 
impossible to see more than a few feet ahead. 
However, the lions were supposed to have 
been driven off. Not a bit of it ! That 
very afternoon they returned about four 
o'clock, and, in broad daylight, coolly chased 
the police horses across the commonage be- 
tween the township and the camp. One of 
the horses had a very narrow escape. 

272 ADVENTURES chap. 

That morning our patient died. His 
funeral, which took place the same after- 
noon, was a strange spectacle, most of 
the men being armed with rifles. The 
procession looked more like a war - like 
expedition than a funeral. 

By this time our huts were furnished 
with solid doors, but the large window in 
our sleeping hut was simply a hole in 
the wall. We barricaded this with a big 
umbrella, hoping that the lion would object 
to its size and spikes. Mr. Carden brought 
us a revolver, and Captain Hey man had 
a lantern hung outside in a tree. A lion 
is said to object to a lantern, and perhaps 
he does. In any case, he did not try to 
enter our hut. Every one, however, was not 
so lucky. 

Towards one in the morning we were 
roused by the most frightful yells that 
ever mortal lungs gave utterance to. We 
distinguished clearly the "Maiwe!" of the 
natives. A number of shots were fired 
in rapid succession, then all was silent. 


In about half an hour the cries were 
repeated ; more shots were fired ; then 
came unbroken silence till morning. As 
soon as it was light we went to our boys' 
hut to find out what had happened, fully 
expecting to hear that some one had been 
carried off. It was a great relief to hear 
that no one had been injured. Captain 
Hey man's boys, however, who lived in a 
grass hut close to our compound, had had a 
narrow escape. 

Alarmed by the nightly raids that had 
been made on the cattle, these natives 
kept a bright fire in their huts all night. 
One of them was making it up, when the 
whole party was roused by the well-known 
pig-like grunt of a hunting lion. Whilst 
they huddled together, the thatch wall was 
torn aside, and the head of a lion forced 
through the opening. His jaws were open ; 
the huge cavity showed red in the firelight, 
which lit up his gleaming teeth and cruel 
yellow eyes. With one accord the boys 
burst into the wails and shrieks that had 

274 ' ADVENTURES chap. 

roused us and the police camp, thereby 
scaring off the lion. The night was of 
inky blackness. Nevertheless Captain 
Heyman, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Carden 
rushed out of their huts and fired their 
rifles — they could not see to aim at any- 
thing. Some one then appeared with a 
lantern, and the natives were convoyed to 
the mess hut, which was provided with a 
strong door. They declared that half an 
hour later the lion returned and tried to 
force his way through the door. At the 
first sound of the cries, the same men 
rushed out again and fired. The next 
morning the "spoor" showed that the lion 
must have passed close to Captain Heyman 
as he fired. It was a curious thing that 
just before the first alarm, Mr. Williams, 
who was sleeping in Captain Hey mans 
hut, should have declared that he heard 
a lion outside. Captain Heyman assured 
him that it was quite impossible. No lion, 
he said, would venture into the camp and 
wander among the huts. If it went any- 


where, it would try and get into the 
stable. He had hardly finished speaking 
when the yells of his boys proved very 
convincingly that no one can calculate on 
what a wild beast will or will not do. 

Every effort was now made to destroy 
the lions. The carcases of the mules were 
poisoned. Men sat up in the trees above 
them all night, on the chance of getting 
a shot. Mr. Carrick, the plucky post- 
master, did this night after night, in all 
weathers, but in vain. The darkness was 
so dense that the shots which he fired in 
the direction from whence the sounds of 
crunching came, did not even frighten the 
lion. He merely dragged his mule a little 
further off, and went on with his supper. 
Nor did the poison seem to trouble him. 
The dispensary had none strong enough, 
or in sufficiently large quantities, to prove 

For ten days there was a reign of terror 
in Umtali. The roads and streets of the 
township were covered with lion spoor. No 


one would venture out after dark. The 
natives took their assegais when they went 
to fetch water ; most of the white men who 
had to go any distance took their revolvers or 
rifles. Hunting parties went out in different 
directions nearly every day, but were always 
unsuccessful. The lions on the contrary 
killed something every night. At last the 
climax came. 

One night sounds of bellowing and tramp- 
ling floated across to us from the township. 
Shots were fired, and evidently a great 
commotion was going on. It appeared that 
the lions had forced their way into a cattle 
kraal built behind one of the houses. The 
terrified cattle stampeded, their assailants 
chasing them through the streets. The noise 
was tremendous. Frightened faces appeared 
at windows, and rifles were discharged, but 
the lions paid no attention. They killed two 
oxen — one in the High Street, one near the 
oven of our friend the baker — besides badly 
mauling several others. This state of things 
could no longer be borne. One of the towns- 


folk, a good shot and clever hunter, took some 
natives with him, and followed up the fresh 
"spoor," which led into the bush behind the 
township. After walking some hours, they 
entered a small open glade, and there before 
them stood lion and lioness. A shot killed 
the former, his mate escaping into the under- 

The dead king was carried back in 
triumph to Umtali. We all went to see him. 
He lay stretched out on the grass, a group of 
the people he had so long held in awe stand- 
ing around. He was a beautiful beast, just 
in his prime, measuring ten feet long from the 
tip of his nose to the end of his tail. His 
coat was soft and bright, and of a tawny 
colour — not unlike that of a mastiff — with 
black points. This colour is so like that of 
the sun-dried grass, that it can with difficulty 
be distinguished from it. Altogether we 
thought him much handsomer than the 
menagerie lion, which is apt to look out of 
proportion — the head enormous, and the hind- 
quarters falling away. 


After the death of her mate, the .lioness 
took her cubs away from Umtali, and 
wandered off towards the coast. She met her 
death in a mountain defile, called Christmas 
Pass — the very spot where Mr. Teal had been 
devoured by a lion more than a year before. 

After these days of unpleasant excitement 
Umtali relapsed into its usual somewhat 
monotonous routine, nor did any such terrible 
visitants reappear during the remainder of 
our stay there. 


A luxury — Mr. Seymour-Fort — An eccentric drive — A 
luncheon party — China versus tin — Ill-behaved guests 
— Moonlight — Our carriage and pair — " Pills and 
Powders" — Their friendship with our monkey — 
Warned of a snake — An execution — Dr. Johnston 
departs — No doctor — A patient from Masse-Kesse — 
Clark and Paget — Amusing notes — The doctor at last 
— A cause celebre — Troublesome results — What's in a 
name? — Gold finds — The gold fever — Wonderful 
reefs — The Queen of Sheba's kingdom. 

Nearly a year after our arrival at Umtali, 
just when climate and work were beginning 
to tell on us, we were able to indulge in a 
great luxury ; thanks to the intervention of 
Mr. Seymour- Fort. This gentleman had 
renounced political life, and had come up to 
Mashonaland with some of the Directors of 
the British South Africa Company. He was, 
at the time of which I write, managing large 
mining interests. We had had the good 

280 ADVENTURES chap. 

fortune to see a great deal of him, and he 
ranks as the most valued friend we made in 

Mr. Seymour-Fort had made the acquaint- 
ance of a miner, who possessed a small hand- 
cart — a very light vehicle, in fact, a mere 
box on wheels. He had lengthened the 
dliselboom and harnessed two donkeys to it, 
the result being a convenient little trap. 

Our first drive in this eccentric vehicle 
was most amusing. Scarcely had we started, 
the donkeys tearing madly down a steep 
donga, when the seat fell out, landing us at 
the bottom of the cart. I was driving Sister 
Aimee ; Mr. Fort running alongside ; a black 
boy trotting behind. Mr. Algernon Caul- 
field met us at the bottom of the donga, just 
in time to extricate us. The reins, whfch 
were made of rope, were much too long, and 
had tied us up in a complicated knot. The 
seat having been recovered and replaced, we 
made another start. But the donkeys sud- 
denly refused to go on. Mr. Caulfield 
pushed, Mr. Fort pulled, we all shrieked 


encouragement in chorus, but nothing moved 
the donkeys. Suddenly, during a pause in 
our efforts, they rushed on again, nearly up- 
setting the seat a second time. 

Finally, however, we arrived at Mr. Fort's 
camp safe and sound. Here a surprise 
awaited us in the shape of a real luncheon, 
neatly laid on a real tablecloth. Actually 
there were china cups ! No one who has not 
been obliged to drink tea out of tin mugs can 
realise the pleasure of drinking it out of 
china. These cups eventually found their 
way to the hospital. We could not under- 
stand having two forks in the course of a 
meal, and were disposed to cling desperately 
to those^ we had used. Mr. Seymour-Fort 
declared that he had never entertained such 
ill-behaved people. We screamed at the 
appearance of a bond-fide teapot, and went 
into positive rapture when a salad was served. 

After luncheon we decided on walking 
home through the valley, as it was rather 
dull having to return by the same road. 
Abandoning the "carriage," we descended 


the steep hill, on the top of which Mr. Fort's 
camp was pitched, and walked through the tall 
grass and rich vegetation of the narrow valley 
below, where groups of palms, sheltered by 
hills from the violent winds that sweep over 
the plain, wave their graceful branches on 
the banks of sleepy streams. 

It was hot, but not unpleasantly so. By 
and by the sun sank in the west, and we 
finished our walk by moonlight. The fairy- 
like beauty of tropical moonlight can only be 
felt ; it cannot be described. It seemed a 
crime to turn one's back on a scene of such 
beauty, and go prosaically to bed. But prose 
eventually carries the day in all such situa- 
tions — worse luck ! The next day a bad 
case was brought to the hospital. We had 
done well to take advantage at once of a day's 

This expedition had been so successful, 
that Mr. Fort suggested that we should buy 
the donkey-cart. He would exchange a pair 
of excellent donkeys, ''accustomed to harness," 
for two which the Bishop had given us. We 


accepted the offer with joy. A bargain was 
soon struck with the digger who owned the 
cart, and we became possessed of a " carriage 
and pair " ! This equipage was a great 
resource. When patients were convalescent 
and up, we could harness the "thorough- 
breds" and escape for an hour. The com- 
bination of fresh air without exertion, and an 
entire change of scene, though only attain- 
able for so short a time, did us a world of 
good. When we got back to the wards we 
could be cheery without an effort, and had 
generally something to tell our patients about 
our driving adventures. 

It was rarely that our drives were quite 
uneventful. The donkeys — sweet beasts, 
which we christened " Pills and Powders" — 
had mouths like cast-iron, and nearly pulled 
my arms off. If they determined to abandon 
the road and tear madly over the veldt, no 
earthly force could stop them. The cart was 
so light that I could pull it myself, and it 
merely served to urge the donkeys on by 
clattering at their heels. Later on I got 


them in hand, and they were much better 

Some one else was as delighted with our 
new acquisition as we were. This was Eric, 
our little blue monkey. No one ever had 
such a charming monkey before or since 
— so clean, so full of fun, and so affectionate. 
It was a sight to see him sitting on " Pills's" 
big, shaggy head, examining his long ears 
with great interest. Eric had an inquiring 
mind, and evidently wanted to know the 
reason of everything. He used to sit on the 
calves' backs as they were lying down asleep, 
pull their eyelids open and peep inside. 
They never seemed to mind a bit. He was 
a sort of sentinel too, giving notice of any 
stranger's approach. One day, being chained 
to a long pole in front of our sleeping-hut, he 
made an awful noise, shrieking, chattering, 
springing up and down, staring all the time 
into our hut. We picked him up, tried to 
pacify him, and brought him milk, but all in 
vain. Sister Aimee going presently into the 
hut to fetch something saw the cause of the 


disturbance. A large snake was gliding 
about the place, and, at her approach, it 
darted into my blankets. We summoned all 
the natives, who killed the reptile with their 

It was lucky for us that we were both 
so fond of animals, for our life was, as a rule, 
very monotonous. For one day off, which we 
enjoyed immensely, we were weeks without 
the slightest break in the routine of cooking, 
nursing — nursing, cooking. No one with 
merely a professional interest in the work 
could have endured the life. The cases were 
nearly all of fever. Many were very bad, 
and had serious complications ; we lost about 
ten per cent. But there was, of course, none 
of the life and variety of London hospital 
work. We had a coolie cook during the last 
rainy season we spent in Mashonaland. This 
was a very great help. We were both get- 
ting rather run down, and could not have 
gone on without one. 

We had a curious experience at the be- 
ginning of these rains. Dr. Johnston was 

286 ADVENTURES chap. 

recalled to England. Mr. Caulfield, who was 
acting as dispenser, went with him. The 
doctor had been very good to us, and we 
regretted his departure deeply. A substitute 
had been appointed, but had not arrived. 
The patients in hospital were convalescent ; 
we discharged them in a few 7 days, hoping 
they would not be replaced till the new 
doctor arrived. This was a vain hope. 
Two days later a procession wound its way 
across the plain, appearing to come from 
Masse-Kesse. First walked a native carry- 
ing a note stuck in a split reed. He held 
the bamboo in front of him, like a candle- 
bearer in a procession, and every now and 
then the white note caught the rays of the 
sun. Then followed a " machila," that is, a 
sort of canvas hammock slung on a long 
pole, which two or four natives carry on 
their shoulders. Out of the hammock hung 
a limp-looking leg. We made out all this 
with our field-glasses. Two boys walked 
behind the "machila," but they carried no 
luggage on their heads — an ominous sign. 


A mere traveller would certainly have stores 
and blankets. As we expected, the bearers 
made straight for the hospital, recognisable 
by its Red Cross flag. Was this indeed a 
terrible accident such as we had often talked 
of? We hoped against hope, and went 
down to the gate to receive the sick man. 

The machila contained a young English- 
man, who had been sent over from Masse- 
Kesse, a distance of about eighteen or twenty 
miles. Though this place is a very fever 
nest, the Mozambique Company had unfor- 
tunately no doctor there. Several sick were 
brought over to us from that place. Our 
new patient had remittent fever badly, and 
a twenty-mile journey in a broiling sun had 
not improved his condition. We had great 
trouble and anxiety about him. Before 
coming to us he had tried every sort of 
quack medicine, taking everything recom- 
mended by anybody, and swallowing all the 
remedies one after the other. We were 
very glad indeed to see him turn the corner. 

There were a good many slight cases of 

288 ADVENTURES chap. 

fever in the district, and we enjoyed driving 
the donkeys on what we called " our rounds." 
I called myself " Paget n and Sister Aimee 
"Andrew Clark." We were extremely pro- 
fessional on these visits, and were com- 
plimented on our excellent "bedside manner." 

It was a time of anxiety of course ; yet 
amusing things happened. 

One day, for instance, a distant farmer 
sent us a note marked urgent, and thus con- 
ceived : "The Sisters are requested to send 
six strong sleeping-draughts at once by 
bearer. Writer has had fever — very weak — 
can't sleep." Sister Aimee explained that the 
administration of six strong sleeping-draughts 
would probably be followed by an inquest ; 
and we sent him a mild one, which, we after- 
wards heard, answered very well. Another 
man wanted a dose of what he called 
" Hydrag : Perchlor : powder." This is a 
strong poison, being in other words corro- 
sive sublimate. He meant calomel, but 
wished to impress us with his professional 
knowledge of medical terms. Another poor 


man was brought over from Masse-Kesse in 
a hopeless state. He lingered for a few 
days, and died in the midst of the lion scare 
described in a former chapter. 

Soon after, the new district surgeon arrived. 
His boys had deserted him on the veldt. He 
had been days without food, and in a raging 
fever. He was still very ill, and had to 
spend a fortnight in hospital. 

Umtali was, not long after, agitated by a 
cause cdlebre. 

In a moment of folly and impecuniosity 
one of the settlers paid his boys with gilded 
shillings, instead of with sovereigns. These 
coins, of the Jubilee type, were, when gilded, 
very like sovereigns, excepting for their 
weight. Some one, it was never known 
who, had brought them into the country 
for no good purpose. A native who had 
received several of these false coins, hap- 
pened to tramp up to Salisbury, and to go 
shopping. Of course at the very first store 
he entered the fraud was detected. 

An inquiry being instituted, a number of 

290 ADVENTURES chap. 

other natives who had been similarly deceived 
appeared to give evidence. Their former 
master was arrested. Umtali was in a fer- 
ment. Public opinion was divided. Many 
declared it was "jolly sharp" of the delin- 
quent. A shilling, they averred, was quite 
enough for a native — much too good for 
him, in fact. 

The court-house was packed on the day of 
the trial. The white man being found guilty, 
great curiosity was evinced as to what his 
sentence would be. Would he have hard 
labour, or a fine ? Betting ran high. 
Finally he was condemned to pay a fine of 
£$o. No sooner was his condemnation 
made known than he became a sort of hero. 
Nothing was heard but " poor fellow — what 
hard lines ! " Trusting that popular sym- 
pathy would take a substantial form, the 
prisoner declared that he could not pay. 
But the arm of the law was extended, and 
bore him off to gaol. After twenty-four 
hours of reflection in this retreat, the money 
was paid and he was released. For a long 


time after, no native would accept a sove- 
reign, unless it had St. George and the Dragon 
on it. As it was difficult to obtain any gold 
at all, it may be imagined what trouble this 
reasonable prejudice gave to the whole 

Umtali had been very steady for some 
time, — abnormally steady, some people said. 
A slight and rather amusing incident swung 
the pendulum back in the direction of former 

A prospector arrived whose name was 
Mr. George Dam. Naturally enough he 
strolled into a bar, and asked for a drink. 
" And what is your name? " said one of the 
men standing by. " Dam," was the answer. 

" D yourself," was the immediate retort, 

"what is your name? " — " Dam, I tell you, " 
cried the stranger. Unholy adjectives flew 
round. "What is his name ? " — "Won't he 
give his name?" — "What is your name?" 
roared the whole assembly. " Dam," 
shrieked the prospector for the third time. 
This was more than could be endured, and a 

292 ADVENTURES chap. 

free fight ensued. I do not know which 
party was victorious ; certain it is, that there 
were a great many black eyes walking about 
the next day, and it was some time before 
the town settled down again. 

A great find of gold was made close to 
the township. The quartz was like white 
sugar, and was largely scattered with lumps 
as big as a pin's head, and flakes of visible 
gold. There were long yellow veins of 
gold, running through almost every specimen 
of quartz. At first it was supposed that the 
reef would become less rich as the shaft was 
sunk deeper. Instead of this it became 
richer and richer. The ferment and agitation 
of the community may be imagined. Every 
one rushed about in every direction, looking 
for the continuation of the reef ; but I do not 
think any one found it. 

People stumble on rich finds in unexpected 
places, which had been pronounced barren of 
metal a few weeks before. I myself have 
seen a piece of quartzite, which an expert 
had declared to be mere dirt that could not 


possibly carry gold, pan with extraordinary 
richness. It is this uncertainty which lends 
a special fascination to gold prospecting. 
The men with the most technical knowledge 
are not, therefore, the most successful. 

We of course knew only by hearsay of 
the gold finds. But every one told us that 
the goldfields of Manica were extraordinarily 
good. This country is said to be the ancient 
land of Ophir where the Queen of Sheba 
reigned, and whence she sent gold, myrrh, 
and spices, to the Wise King. However, 
this, of course, is pure conjecture. 


The hospital empty at last — An expedition proposed — We 
trek to the Odzani — A picnic — Our camp by the 
"Slippery Drift" — The march to M'Tassa's kraal— 
A wearisome delay — The King appears — A noisy 
palaver — Offering a present — Kaffir beer — The King 
is photographed — Bushman drawings — Return home 
— Cattle stealing — A warlike expedition — The 
"Artillery" borrow our donkey-harness — An awful 
old woman — Return of the expedition — News of the 
Bishop's return — Nurses to relieve us — The Beira 
Railway — The Jesuit Mission — Splendid organisation. 

It was in September 1892 that the hospital 
was first empty for a few days. It underwent 
a thorough renovating ; the mud walls being 
re-daghered, and the mats that covered them 
carbolised, where it was not possible to renew 
them. Everything being in apple-pie order, 
and the health of the country being good, 
Dr. Johnston, then on the eve of his departure 
for England, proposed that we should accom- 


pany him and the Civil Commissioner to 
M'Tassa's kraal. 

This Chief was very rarely seen by any 
one. His large leisure was almost entirely 
employed in conjugating the verb to drink. 
More than once the Company's officials had 
gone over to his mountain lair, and had been 
obliged to return without having been re- 
ceived by him. On this occasion, however, 
he was almost sure to appear, since the 
annual present of ^100, which the Company 
gives him, was to be presented. 

We, of course, jumped at the idea, and 
proposed driving " Pills and Powders" as far 
as practicable, and then walking. This was, 
however, declared to be impossible. One of 
the camp Scotch-carts, which vehicle looks 
like a waggon cut in half, was put into 
requisition. A tent was deposited at the 
bottom, on the top of which rugs, blankets, 
etc., were piled. The men were to ride. 

One fine morning, therefore, we climbed 
into our Scotch -cart, drawn by a span of 
eight oxen, and trekked gaily across the 

296 ADVENTURES chap. 

veldt. We halted for luncheon under a 
group of trees. There is something very- 
enjoyable in these African picnics. The air 
is so pure, the sky so cloudless. There is 
no busy, hurrying, noisy town, in the back- 
ground ; immense solitudes surround one. 
With a certain sense of lotus-eating enjoy- 
ment, one abandons oneself to the influences 
of the hour. Leaning back in the shade 
of the cart, one lazily watches the natives 
lighting fires and boiling kettles ; while, near 
at hand, the large-eyed oxen wander slowly 
along, crushing aromatic herbs beneath their 
tread as they feed. A thin column of blue 
smoke rises from the fires round which the 
boys sit, singing a monotonous chant, which 
harmonises with the surroundings as nothing 
else would. Then the water boils, tea is 
made, luncheon is ready. Surely bread and 
corned beef never could taste so good under 
any other circumstances ! Such is my im- 
pression of this picnic, and of many like it. 

Luncheon being over we inspanned, and 
set off again, reaching the "Slippery Drift" 


at the Odzani river at half-past four in the 
afternoon. Here we were to halt for the 
night. It was a lovely river, rushing over 
a granite bed, swirling round great boulders, 
and gliding swiftly and sombrely between 
dark granite cliffs. A narrow line of thick 
bush belted the river on either side. 

This ford had received the name of 
" Slippery Drift," from the fact that the 
shallow water here covered flat granite rocks 
as smooth as glass. A horseman was never 
quite sure of reaching the other side without 
a ducking. Even on foot it was difficult to 
avoid slipping. When the rains had swollen 
the river it was very dangerous, for horse 
and rider would be swept away with resistless 
force if either made the slightest mistake. 
Often it was wholly impassable. In Sep' 
tember it was, of course, quite shallow. 

Our tent was pitched on the banks of this 
most picturesque river ; and whilst we carried 
our towels behind a big rock and had a 
wash, tea was made ready. We sat on a 
semi-circle of big rocks, and sipped it slowly, 

298 ADVENTURES chap. 

wondering, as we did so, what sort of "five 
o'clock " the Queen of Sheba indulged in ! 
A cheery little dinner in the tent followed, 
and then we strolled out in the moonlight, 
and sat on the rocks, watching the river 
and chattering, till Dr. Johnston declared he 
could no longer countenance such insanitary 
proceedings, and we must go to bed. There- 
upon Sister Lucy and I retired to the tent, 
the men making themselves comfortable 
under the Scotch-cart, and the natives beside 
the fires. 

The next morning we were up betimes, 
and after a hurried breakfast we got into the 
Scotch-cart, which the men pushed into the 
middle of the river. From there we were 
able to step on a rock, then on to another, 
and so safely to land. The men waded 
through. We then set out to walk to the 
King's village, a distance of about four miles. 
The path wound upwards along a mountain 
side, through a narrow defile. On either 
side huge rocks towered above us. Down 
below was a chaos of rocks and boulders. 


The whole was intermixed with the scrubby 
bush which abounds in this part of Africa, 
though there seem to be no tall forest trees. 

We all walked in the usual single file 
along a narrow native track. The whole of 
Africa is intersected by these paths, which 
are never straight, but curve from one side 
to another. We often asked why a native 
proceeds in this roundabout way, and one or 
two people told me that every one has a 
natural tendency to go more to the right 
than the left, and that instinct leads the 
native to correct this by taking a turn in the 
other direction. On the other hand, we 
constantly noticed that natives are incapable 
of making a straight line. They never put 
a mat down straight, nor can they build a 
straight wall, nor cut a straight furrow. 

Our path wound higher and higher, and 
led to the foot of a steep cliff, up which we 
scrambled, arriving at a species of small 
plateau, with a precipice on one side and 
piles of rocks on the other. We could see 
no huts, though we were almost in the kraal. 


The low beehives were built behind rocks 
or trees, and were so cleverly contrived as to 
be quite invisible to a raiding force. Indeed, 
we were told that an Impi of Gungunyama's 
men from Gazaland had declared this village 
to be quite impregnable, and had returned 
home, raiding as they went. 

A messenger was sent on to inform 
M'Tassa of our arrival. Not a native was 
to be seen — though of course they had 
watched us encamp at the Odzani, and had 
probably followed us all the way to our 
present halting-place. After a few moments' 
delay we followed our messenger, and 
entered the outer kraal : the one in which 
the chief lives being a good deal higher up, 
and strongly stockaded. We were con- 
ducted by an Induna to a small hut, where 
fresh mats were put down for us ; but, finding 
it likely that we should have to wait a long 
time, we had the mats taken outside, and, 
seated on them, watched the strange scene. 

Every rock and boulder was covered with 
natives — men, women, and children. They 


looked like crowds of flies that had settled 
on the granite. They did not talk, but 
stared with all their eyes. I should think 
we must have waited an hour, and then sent 
a messenger to inquire whether M'Tassa 
meant to appear or not. The answer was 
that the Chief was coming. Meanwhile, he 
sent a huge pot of native beer, a rather 
nauseous compound made from Kaffir-corn. 
We waited another hour, and then it was 
proposed that we should stroll through the 
King's kraal. He would dislike this very 
much, and would probably put in an 

We carried out this project, and no sooner 
were we inside the stockade, than an Induna 
hurried up to us, assuring us that M'Tassa 
would see us directly, if we would only go 
back to our mats. We did so, and in a 
few moments a great noise announced the 
approach of the Chief. 

A picturesque procession came winding in 
and out through the crags and boulders, and 
descended slowly towards us. First ran a 

302 ADVENTURES chap. 

sort of herald, crying out, " Here comes 
M'Tassa ! — Lord of the Sun and Moon ! — 
The Dog that prowls by night ! — The Eater 
up of white men ! " and a great deal more 
foolishness. Then followed a number of 
men, the dignity of whose march was some- 
what detracted from by the rags of dirty 
limbo in which many of them were draped. 
To these succeeded a man carrying a beauti- 
ful battle-axe, made of black polished wood, 
curiously inlaid with brass. After him came 
M'Tassa himself. He was a tall, stout man ; 
draped in blue and white limbo, worn some- 
what after the fashion of a toga ; and with a 
blue and white cricketing cap on his head. 
His hair was woolly, but his features were 
rather fine. He walked well, and came for- 
ward with a decidedly dignified air, offering 
us his hand, which was slender and well- 
shaped, but extremely dirty. A mat was 
unrolled for the " King," and his men 
squatted round him. A good -sized tree 
threw its shadow over M'Tassa ; a number 
of slender bamboos and young trees hid 


the rocks on this spot. No doubt the 
natives were accustomed to meet here for 
their dances and " palavers." 

A most noisy " palaver" this was. Certain 
natives had run away from Mr. Selous, and 
were said to have stolen some meal. M'Tassa 
was requested to give them up. Our inter- 
preter explained this to the head Induna, who 
in turn explained to his Chief. The latter 
kept up an admirable feint of never under- 
standing anything that was said until his 
Induna explained it to him. He eyed us 
furtively, but always tried to pretend not to 
be looking at us if we caught his eye. 

One party in the kraal were for giving up 
the boys; the other party was anti -white, 
and was headed by a ruffianly -looking per- 
son, who had combed out his wool until it 
had acquired quite a respectable length, and 
who was of an extremely ferocious appear- 
ance. He got up, and yelled and shouted, 
until M'Tassa shook his fists at him, and 
yelled louder still. Meanwhile we had been 
looking at the battle-axe with covetous eyes, 

304 ADVENTURES chap. 

and suddenly, forgetful of etiquette, exclaimed 
in Mashona, " M'Tassa ! we want your battle- 
axe ; will you trade ? " A moment of shocked 
silence followed, then a hubbub, and then 
a good deal of laughing. M'Tassa good- 
naturedly caused his Induna to explain that 
he could not part with the weapon, because 
it always belonged to the Chief, and his son 
would have it after him. 

To change the conversation, and divert 
the current of people's thoughts, the "pre- 
sent " was produced. Two rolls of limbo, 
one blue, one white, of about thirty yards 
each, were deposited in front of the Chief, 
and a hundred golden sovereigns were poured 
out on them. The king looked very slightly 
at it, and showed no pleasure. This is 
etiquette. After a few moments, M'Tassa 
condescended to explain through his head- 
man that he did not care for gold, but that 
he would accept limbo in place of it, since 
the white men were so anxious to make 
him presents. 

This point being settled, Dr. Johnston 


asked if he might photograph the chief and 
his people. He said he would take M'Tassa's 
likeness to England, and perhaps the " Great 
White Queen " would see it, and recognise 
what a great chief M'Tassa was. To every- 
one's surprise, permission was given, and 
a very characteristic and picturesque photo- 
graph was the result, though the King rather 
spoilt himself by pulling his " toga " up about 
his ears. The Chief now sent for a small pot 
of beer — his own special brew. We all tasted 
this, and found it really excellent. It was 
sweetened with honey, and was very different 
from the beer generally in use. 

We were anxious to leave, having a good 
walk back to the Odzani, and being desirous 
of getting back to Umtali that evening. So 
Dr. Johnston put up his apparatus, and, evi- 
dently being looked upon as a great sorcerer 
by the natives, made his adieux to M'Tassa. 
We all hurried down the cliff, pausing at the 
bottom to search for a great rock, on which 
Mr. Selous had told us some interesting 
bushman drawings were to be seen — a proof 

3o6 ADVENTURES chap. 

that in some far distant time the bushmen 
lived in Mashonaland and Manica. 

These bushmen are supposed to have 
been the original inhabitants of Africa. 
They are of low stature, their speech is 
made up of clicks, they have no settled 
dwellings, and they live altogether by hunt- 
ing and fishing. They are, in fact, a very 
low order of savage. We could not find 
out, from any one who had been among 
them, whether the bushmen of these days 
show any talent for drawing. Their fore- 
fathers have left most beautiful and delicate 
specimens of their art, traced in yellow and 
red pigment on the rocks. The sketches 
reminded us of those executed by the cave- 
men — outlines of various kinds of buck, 
elephants, and other animals, dashed in with 
a boldness and directness which any modern 
animal painter might envy. No one could 
tell us of what the pigment was made. It 
seems wonderful that it should have with- 
stood the weather, for who shall say how 
long ! I am sorry to say that some white 


men of the " 'Any " species have thought it 
funny and clever to add to the collection. 
Another of these strange picture galleries 
exists near Fort Salisbury. We questioned 
the natives about them through the inter- 
preter, but they could give no account of 
them. No one knew, they said ; no one 
could count the moons since they were 
shaped. We thought them one of the 
most interesting sights we had seen in this 
strange land. It was, however, impossible 
to linger, and we hurried along to the 
waggon. The heat was great, and we were 
very glad indeed to see the Odzani glittering 
in the sun. We had an uneventful trek 
home, reaching the hospital when the moon 
was high. 

Some short time after this excursion, a 
neighbouring kraal excited the wrath of the 
white men, by stealing the Company's oxen. 
The head-man of the village refused to give 
up the culprits, or make any compensation. 
In consequence, an expedition was planned to 
punish the kraal. A good trek-ox is a very 


valuable animal up in Mashonaland, and if 
one village had found it possible to steal 
cattle with impunity, the others would soon 
have imitated the example. It was decided 
that the erring kraal must be thoroughly 
frightened, and then fined. 

Accordingly a Maxim gun was to be taken 
with the expedition. But how was it to be 
got there ? That was the question ! There 
was no harness to be had ; and finally, to 
our great amusement, the " Government " 
borrowed our donkey harness. It was 
enlarged to fit a couple of horses, and the 
artillery was ready for action. We watched 
the start with much interest. But alas ! at 
about five hundred yards from the hospital, 
the Maxim had to cross a small ford, lying 
at the foot of a steep hill. Here the horses 
jibbed, plunged, and could not be induced to 
go a step farther. Men were sent back to 
the camp for a span of oxen to replace the 
horses, and the expedition proceeded on 
its way. Evil fate pursued it however. 
Torrents of rain fell night and day. The 


Maxim could not be dragged anywhere near 
the kraal, and had to be abandoned for the 
moment on the veldt. 

Meanwhile news of these preparations had 
been noised abroad. The offending natives 
fled from their village — a wretched group of 
huts — taking cattle and goods with them. 
The Company's forces were met by one 
awful old woman, who denounced them in 
an unintelligible dialect. No doubt it was 
just as well that no one understood her. 
Natives have a fine talent for abuse of all 
kinds, and we heard that the old lady sounded 
as if she was saying "swears." The police 
burnt an empty hut as an example, and 
carried off a goat and a few fowls. They 
kindly brought us some curiosities in the 
shape of fire - sticks, arrows, a native 
piano, and a few odds and ends. They 
would have enjoyed being attacked by an 
impi, but the old woman struck terror into 
their souls. The Maxim was extricated, and 
came home meekly after the expedition had 
returned to Umtali. On the whole, perhaps, 

i^itbt m mS ****** f& 

himm ***** wrifel * Imi ?M* *Q*to xv 

312 ADVENTURES chap. 

we had settled to wait till he could bring the 
nurses up by the long trek. He had had a 
most delightful spring - waggon made at 
Bristol, and he proposed sending the nurses 
up in this. They were from University 
College Hospital. He intended to engage 
one or two colonial nurses also. Dr. Knight 
Bruce went on to say many very flattering 
things about our work, and our usefulness to 
the Mission. We have kept all these letters ; 
they are pleasant to read over in moments of 
depression. We very much wished we had 
been able to do more. 

The Jesuit Mission at Fort Salisbury had 
made very rapid strides. We had arrived up 
country whilst the nuns were still at Tuli, 
and in 1893 seventeen religious sisters were 
in Mashonaland. They not only nursed the 
hospital at Fort Salisbury, but had opened a 
school there. At Victoria also, they had 
charge of the hospital. 

The Rev. Father Kerr had a large in- 
dustrial farm near Fort Salisbury, and we 
heard that a number of Jesuit lay-brothers 


were employed on it. In one of the Admin- 
istrator's speeches, he said that he believed 
that the agricultural future of Mashonaland 
would be enormously indebted to this indus- 
trial farm. The Jesuits also worked very 
actively amongst the natives. They seemed 
to have no lack of money or workers, and to 
be most efficiently organised. Our efforts 
seemed very poor and small, when contrasted 
with the works they carried out on so large 
a scale. It may therefore be imagined how 
much we rejoiced over the long -looked -for 
return of the Bishop, and how glad we were 
to hear that he was largely supplied with 
funds, and would soon be able to place the 
Mission on a more satisfactory footing. 


Illness — Visit from a leopard — Tedious convalescence — 
Again without a doctor — Arrival of the Bishop — New 
nurses on the way — Their arrival at Umtali — A split 
in the camp — A touching deputation — Farewell to 
Umtali — Fever en route — In the train — Fontesvilla 
— Arrival at Beira — A transformation — Lieutenant 
Hussey- Walsh— Hospitality — The Consul's ball. 

Since Sister Lucy's serious illness in March 
1892, we had escaped the least touch of 
fever, and, personally, I had enjoyed excel- 
lent health. Just, however, as we were 
congratulating ourselves on our escape, and 
looking forward to a pleasant journey home, 
we both fell victims to the malaria demon. 
We had four attacks, one after the other, and 
each attack prostrated us both at the same 
time. There was no one to look after us 
but a native lad. He sat in a corner of our 
hut all day ; slept on the floor at night ; and, 


having been carefully trained by us as 
hospital boy, could change our blankets 
without making us get out of bed, and had 
some idea of what comfort meant. 

Whichever of us had the lower temper- 
ature gave the other her medicines, and 
looked after her as well as was possible. 
We made the best of the situation, but I 
must frankly say that it was very uncomfort- 
able, and in my opinion it is not right to 
leave two women alone in a womanless 
country. Native women, even, were not 
available. They never went near a white 
encampment, though no doubt their pre- 
judice will be overcome as time goes on. 

We were both very ill indeed — so ill 
that we heard afterwards our graves had 
been dug ; but we never could find out 
whether this was true or not. One night, 
when we were both at our worst, the doctor 
sat up all night with us. Sister Lucy was 
very bad indeed, and threatened with col- 
lapse. I had a high temperature even for 
Africa — 106 — and was delirious and saw 


strange visions. The door of our hut was 
of the kind called a cottage door, and so 
made that the lower part could be shut, 
whilst the upper portion stood half open on 
account of the heat. Suddenly the door 
shook violently ; a shower of dagher fell 
from the walls ; it was as if the hut were 
about to tumble down. Then, on the top 
of the upper door, something large, black, 
extraordinary, seemed to appear. The 
doctor had turned round at the noise, and 
I, who faced the door, shrieked out that 
something terrible was coming in ! 

Dr. Wilson, a big, somewhat slow and 
phlegmatic Scotchman, jumped across the hut 
in a most unusual and unprofessional hurry, 
and banged the door with a violence that 
shook the whole hut, and appeared most un- 
necessary. He easily persuaded us that 
there was nothing near the door ; that my 
delirious fancy had created the monstrous 
black thing ; and that he had only shut the 
door because the temperature changes to- 
wards morning, and sunrise is almost as un- 


healthy as sunset. But, when we were out 
of danger, the doctor informed us that a 
leopard had been wandering about our com- 
pound all night ; had sprung upon our door ; 
and was gathering itself up to drop into 
the hut, when he flung the door to, and so 
shook the creature off, and frightened it 
away. It consoled itself in the Police Camp 
with a couple of goats, which it killed and 
partly devoured. People assured us that 
the leopard would have been so frightened 
of us that it would not have done us any 
harm, but we both agreed in being extremely 
glad that Dr. Wilson prevented the experi- 
ment from being tried. 

We found our convalescence very tedious. 
The natives did their best, and an old white 
sailor, who had succeeded Charlie, our coolie 
cook, made great efforts to shine as a pro- 
fessor of invalid cookery. But we could not 
do justice to his attempts. With the best 
intentions in the world, and the greatest 
desire not to be troublesome, it is im- 
possible for sick people to eat unappetising 


food, roughly prepared and roughly served. 
We did not therefore recover very fast, and 
had more than one bad relapse. I do not 
know how matters would have ended if our 
friend, Mr. Seymour-Fort, had not come to 
the rescue. He happened to have with him 
a Portuguese-speaking native, who had a fair 
idea of cooking ; and every day runners 
came from Mr. Fort's camp, a distance of 
four miles, bringing chicken broth, custard 
puddings, etc. Some of the police, hearing 
of our difficulty, created a fair imitation of 
aspic-jelly ; it would not have been voted 
successful in London certainly, but it was 
quite eatable and pleasant, if a little odd. 
Pleasanter still was the kind thought which 
suggested the idea. 

Meanwhile Dr. Wilson and the native 
boys looked after the patients as best they 
could, but I fear that these were very un- 
comfortable. Fortunately only slight cases 
were admitted whilst we were ill, with the 
exception of one poor man, who was brought 
and who never recovered 


consciousness, I was able, in an interval of 
fever, to attend to him when he was brought 
in, but twelve hours before he died was 
obliged to give up and go to bed. I cannot 
find words to say how miserable it made us 
both, to lie helpless in our huts, and listen to 
the moans of the dying man. Again we felt 
how urgently a third nurse was needed. 

We were not quite convalescent when 
Dr. Wilson was summoned to Beira, where 
his wife had arrived, and was waiting for 
him to escort her to Umtali. I had a bad 
attack of fever shortly after he left, but for- 
tunately Sister Lucy escaped, and was able 
to look after me and such patients as might 
be admitted. 

One morning after I was convalescent, 
we were busy arranging a new hut which 
was being built for the future nurses, and 
putting a few finishing touches to a rustic 
porch, which we had added to our sitting- 
hut, when a smart-looking horseman rode up 
to the compound. It was the Bishop, riding 
" Hatfield," the Salisbury steeplechaser. He 

320 ADVENTURES chap. 

dismounted, and advanced with out-stretched 
hands. "Well, you two wonderful people," 
was his greeting, " I am rejoiced and sur- 
prised to see you both alive." We took 
Dr. Knight Bruce over the little hospital 
and the huts. He expressed himself as 
being highly pleased with all the arrange- 
ments ; declared that he had not expected to 
find anything so comfortable and civilised ; 
and was rejoiced to think that the incoming 
nurses would suffer little or no hardships, and 
could settle down to a three years' spell of 
work without being discouraged by their 
surroundings. The Bishop told us that two 
of his nurses were from University College 
Hospital, and that he had also engaged two 
colonial nurses. They were all expected in 
about a fortnight. He was full of regret for 
the disorganisation of the Mission, feeling 
that little had been accomplished since its 
inauguration two years beforehand. He 
immediately set about building a brick 
Mission House, one hundred feet long, and 
very conveniently arranged. It is situated 


close to the hospital, on a gentle rise, and 
commands a lovely view. The building was 
pushed forward most energetically, and, at 
the time that this is written, is probably 
nearly completed. 

In about a fortnight after the Bishop's 
arrival, the waggons bringing up the new 
nurses reached Umtali. The two English 
nurses looked like settling down to the work ; 
but one of the Colonial ladies was barely 
twenty. Both she and her companion might, 
perhaps, be described in their own phraseology, 
as u gay cups of tea," and they made no secret 
of their distaste for their new quarters. They 
arrived at Umtali on Wednesday, and on the 
Saturday following left with us for the coast. 

The day before our departure a deputa- 
tion of the townsfolk came up to the hospital, 
and presented us with an address, signed by 
between seventy and eighty " representative 
signatures," as the newspapers say. This 
demonstration was wholly unexpected, and 
very touching. Such services as we had 
been able to render were made far too much 


322 ADVENTURES chap. 

of, and we wished we had been able to do 
more. The township seemed especially 
pleased at our having started a fund for the 
erection of a brick hospital, which would no 
doubt have been nearly finished by this time, 
but for the Matabele outbreak. 

The next day we turned our backs on 
Umtali, and set out for Beira. The two 
Colonial nurses travelled in a waggon ; Sister 
Lucy and I were carried in machilas ; Dr. 
Rundell of the Mission, and another white 
man, went on foot. The waggon could, of 
course, go no farther than Chimoio, on account 
of the fly. 

Our journey down was most uneventful, 
except for the fact that Sister Lucy suffered 
terribly from repeated attacks of fever. She 
was very plucky about it, and submitted with 
wonderful patience to being carried along in 
her machila at a rough trot — which, with a 
temperature of 105, and aching limbs and head, 
must have been almost unendurable. It was 
a red-letter day when we saw the railway em- 
bankment winding along through the forest. 


The plate-layers' camp was at the forty 
mile peg. We arrived there late one evening, 
and the next morning the traffic manager ran 
us down in trolleys as far as the thirty-five 
mile peg, where we caught " the down 
train." Nothing could exceed the excitement 
of our carriers who had followed so far, push- 
ing the trolleys, when they saw us puffing 
away in the train. For an incredibly long 
time they kept up with the train, yelling and 
bounding over the veldt. We took four of 
them with us in a truck, and they shook their 
hands with a disdainful gesture at the friends 
they left behind. 

Arrived at Fontesvilla, the railway ter- 
minus on the Pungwe, we were in doubt 
where to go, when a Mr. Cathcart, proprietor 
of a large store, came forward and offered us 
hospitality. He and his partner turned out 
of their rooms for us, and did all in their 
power to make us forget the hardships of 
the march. We had just missed the river 
steamer, and had to remain two days in the 
camp. We met more than one former patient 


— amongst them Mr. Holberg, a well-known 
hunter, who presented us with some pretty 
tusks. We went boating on the Pungwe, 
and renewed our acquaintance with the croco- 
diles. Sister Lucy picked up a crocodile's 
egg, which she proposed to bring home. It 
was a pestiferous egg, and promised to be a 
regular white elephant, when it was happily 

At last the steamer arrived, and early one 
morning we went on board, and were soon 
steaming down the Pungwe. This time 
there was no question of thirst, hunger, or 
discomfort. Awnings protected us from the 
sun, and a tidy luncheon was served. 

Our surprise, when we reached Beira, was 
indeed great. Two years before, it had been 
simply a flat sandbank, with one or two cor- 
rugated iron houses and the tents of the 
Portuguese soldiers. In 1893 we found 
streets, stores, and charming houses of the 
American chalet type. I suppose there are 
about four hundred inhabitants, the larger 
number being English. There was a primi- 


tive tramway, too, people having their own 
trucks, and being pushed along by their boys. 
The streets are still deep in sand, through 
which it is toilsome to plod one's way. Mr. 
Hussey- Walsh, the Vice-Consul, offered hospi- 
tality to Sister Lucy and myself, the Colonial 
ladies being accommodated elsewhere. 

A large chalet had been provided for 
the Consul, but it was uninhabitable, being 
placed on the very edge of the mangrove 
swamps which make that part of Beira 
unhealthy. Mr. Hussey -Walsh had, there- 
fore, established himself in a tiny cottage, 
delightfully situated on the sea shore, — the 
waves almost dashed into the little verandah 
on which our bedrooms opened, and the 
fresh salt smell blew into every corner of 
the house. Imagine our surprise to find 
that the Consul's cook and factotum was 
no other than our Malay boy, Jonosso. 
He took us under his protection, accom- 
panied us when shopping in the Arab 
stores, and brought his chief wives to 
" scrape " to us. 


We stayed eleven days with the Consul, 
and nothing could equal his kindness. He 
profited by the fact that there were four 
English-speaking women in Beira, to give 
a dance on the verandah. There were 
about ten men to each woman, and to 
prevent these latter from dying of ex- 
haustion, intervals between the dances were 
filled up with songs and rousing choruses. 
Everybody was amused, and the fame of 
" the Consul's ball " penetrated to the interior 
of the Dark Continent. 



We leave Beira — On board the German steamer Kaiser 
— Dar- es - Salaam — Evangelical mission — Mission 
hospital — Emin Pasha's daughter, Ferida — A mad- 
man on board — His strange diet — "We can't lock 
up an Englishman!" — His death — Zanzibar — The 
English mission — Splendid organisation — The hospital 
— On board H.M.S. Raleigh — Bishop Smythies — 
Aden — The Red Sea — Untimely sausages — Mr. Wolf, 
the German explorer — Port Said — Europe at last. 

During the eleven days we spent at Beira 
we lived in complete uncertainty as to our 
future plans. No one could tell us what 
homeward-bound steamer would be the first 
to arrive. The Union Company's ships run 
between Cape Town and Beira ; whilst the 
German Company's steamers ply between 
Natal and Hamburg, touching at Mozam- 
bique, Zanzibar, Naples, and other ports. 
We decided on leaving by the first steamer 
that put in, and on the 27th of June we 


saw the German steamer Kaiser steaming 
into the bay. Early the next morning the 
Consul and one or two other friends took 
us on board the Kaiser, a large and fairly 
comfortable ship, the saloon and cabins 
being on the main deck and, therefore, 
much less stuffy than those on the ordinary 
Atlantic steamer. 

Our good-byes being said we set out for 
Mozambique, the first port at which we 
were to touch. We had seen Mozambique 
two years before, and knew every inch of 
the town, and, therefore, were not much 
interested in our journey until we arrived 
at Dar-es- Salaam. This German settle- 
ment greatly surprised us. The Kaiser 
rounded a rocky island, and, steaming along 
a narrow channel, suddenly entered a land- 
locked bay round which Dar-es- Salaam is 
built. Had it not been for the groves of 
cocoanut palms, one might have imagined 
oneself at Gmlinden or Baden. Large 
white stone houses, two or three stories 
high, with brown wooden balconies run- 


ning round them, are an unusual sight 
anywhere in Africa. The place seemed 
astonishingly flourishing, and we wondered 
we had not heard more about it, as it 
looked a far more important place than 
Beira. On inquiry, however, we discovered 
that the buildings were not the outcome 
of individual enterprise as at Beira, but 
were nearly all built by the Government. 
The inhabitants too were mostly officials. 

Wishing to visit the Mission Hospital, 
we asked our way of a magnificent personage 
whose white uniform was resplendent with 
gold buttons and braid. We thought he 
must be a General at least, but discovered 
that he was only a post-office clerk. He 
directed us to the hospital and mission house 
belonging to the German Evangelical Mis- 
sion. Large and well - cultivated grounds 
surrounded the hospital, and afforded work 
to a number of natives whose picturesque 
locations, scattered here and there, were 
beautifully kept. An elderly deaconess re- 
ceived us very amiably, and took us over the 


hospital. She told us that the nursing work 
was entirely done by Brothers, she and the 
other deaconess having nothing to do with 
the sick, but being altogether employed in 
cooking and keeping house. In the rare 
case of a woman being admitted to hospital 
they nursed her. The wards were large and 
very clean ; but they looked comfortless, and 
seemed to be recklessly ventilated, a small 
hurricane blowing through them flapping 
the coverings of the beds and beating directly 
on the patients' heads. Kind as the nursing 
Brothers seemed, we both felt that we should 
have been very sorry to know that any one we 
cared for was in the Dar-es-Salaam Hospital. 
We were struck by the absence of any in- 
terest, outside their own work, shown by the 
Deaconesses and the Brothers. They had 
never heard of Mashonaland, of hospitals at 
Cape Town and Kimberley, and they did 
not even know that there was a large English 
mission close by at Zanzibar. They had 
heard of Roman Catholic missions, and 
appeared to think that all the hospital work 


in the world was either done by them or 
by their own Evangelical Mission. They 
gave us excellent coffee and cake, despatch- 
ing us back to our ship with many good 

As we strolled back to the landing-place 
we met the " Governor's lady," as she is 
generally called, a fair-haired German in a 
startling toilette, with some unusually fair, 
fat children. Amongst these a melan- 
choly-looking coloured child attracted our 
attention. We were told that this was 
Ferida, daughter of Emin Pasha. She came 
on board that evening in charge of Sister 
Marie of the German Red Cross Sisterhood, 
who was to take her to Berlin, and place her 
under the care of her fathers sister. Ferida 
was a wizened-looking child of about eight 
or nine, only redeemed from positive ugliness 
by a pair of magnificent Eastern eyes — large, 
lustrous, and solemn. She understood and 
spoke a little German, French, and Italian ; 
but said little or nothing, made no noise, and 
moped about in corners. 

332 ADVENTURES chap. 

We had another interesting traveller on 
board, in the shape of a madman. This un- 
fortunate was shipped on board the Kaiser, 
at Durban I think, and soon proved very- 
troublesome. He wandered all over the 
ship ; chiefly frequenting the cabins of the 
second-class passengers, amongst whom he 
travelled. He ate the soap, drank hair- 
wash and eau de cologne, used the tooth- 
brushes, and picked up any stray coins he 
could find. Every now and then he was 
searched and his unlawful acquisitions taken 
away from him. When we asked why he 
was not shut up in a cabin and taken out 
under supervision, we were much amused 
at being told that it was because he was 
an Englishman. " If he were German," said 
the Captain, " I would lock him up ; but he 
is a bold man who locks up an Englishman." 
The poor madman never reached home ; 
between the diet of soap and hair-wash, and 
the heat of the Red Sea, his health gave 
way. He had an apoplectic seizure, and 
died without recovering consciousness. 


Zanzibar was the first really oriental-look- 
ing place we had ever seen, and we revelled 
in the narrow streets ; the shops full of 
picturesque rubbish ; the open sheds where 
we could watch the silver-workers hammer- 
ing out designs on quaintly-shaped cups, 
bangles, and anklets. We fell easy victims 
to the embroidery -sellers and moonstone 
merchants who thronged the ship, and who 
began by asking ^20, and ended by grate- 
fully accepting 10s. for the same goods. 

Of course we were curious to see the 
English Mission Hospital, having heard a 
great deal about it, and being much in- 
terested in it. The English Church, or 
Cathedral as I think it is called, surprised 
us by its size and beauty. It is large 
and finely proportioned, built of white 
stone, and stands in the midst of a group 
of graceful cocoa-nut palms. The Bishop 
was holding a synod in the church as we 
looked in, and a clergyman, kneeling near 
the entrance, who proved to be the Chaplain 
of H.M.S. Raleigh, rose from his place, 

334 ADVENTURES chap. 

and conducted us to the neighbouring 
Mission House. Here we were received 
by a charming old lady, who manages 
the house, and looks after the wellbeing 
of Bishop and clergy. She was having 
tea prepared for the Synod, and proposed 
taking us across to the hospital, request- 
ing us to return to tea. To this we gladly 
assented, and, following our guide, crossed 
a small open space leading to the hospital. 
Ascending a short flight of steps we found 
ourselves in a delightfully cool recess — 
half room, half loggia — and here we saw 
a convalescent mission-worker lying on a 
comfortable sofa, whilst another was em- 
broidering at a small table. It was a cosy 
and homelike scene. 

One of the nurses, in a fresh white 
uniform, then appeared, and took us over 
the building. We admired the comfortably 
furnished rooms provided for Europeans, 
and the nurses' pretty bedrooms, each open- 
ing on a broad balcony. We then visited 
the beautifully - ordered native wards ; the 


large, well-supplied dispensary ; the spotless 
kitchens ; and were delighted with the air 
of orderly activity which prevailed in every 
department. The nurses looked fagged. 
They told us that the work was happily 
rather slack just then; one of the four 
had fever, and the work had been ex- 
ceptionally heavy for the other three. But, 
though looking a little worn and weary, 
they were very bright and cheery, and 
evidently thoroughly content with their work 
and surroundings. 

We carried away a very pleasant im- 
pression of our visit, and went back to 
the Mission House, where we found a 
number of clergy at tea. We were rather 
disappointed to find that the Bishop, feeling 
very tired, had retired to his room. During 
the meal we heard a great deal about the 
Mission, its schools and industrial settle- 
ments ; and it was delightful to note the 
earnestness of our entertainers, and their 
complete trust in the Bishop. 

We met Bishop Smythies the next day 

336 ADVENTURES chap. 

on board H.M.S. Raleigh. Admiral Bed- 
ford had given us tea, and shown us 
some native curios, and, as we said good- 
bye to him, we met the Bishop, who had 
been entertained by the Chaplain. He was 
exceedingly kind to us, and said many en- 
couraging things about our work up country, 
which seemed familiar to him. We fully 
appreciated the charm of his grave and 
dignified manner, and easily understood the 
sentiments of veneration and personal de- 
votion to him with which all his workers 
are inspired. On all sides we heard of the 
splendid work which the Zanzibar Mission 
is accomplishing, and of its admirable organi- 
sation. Mr. Eugen Wolf, the German 
explorer, who joined the Kaiser at Zanzibar, 
told us that he had seen most of the various 
Missions which are scattered over Africa, 
and that he considered the Mission over 
which Bishop Smythies presided to be the 
only one which stood on an equal footing 
with the Roman Catholic Missions. 

From Zanzibar to Aden the journey was 


uneventful and monotonous. Most of the 
other passengers knew the east coast well, 
but Sister Lucy and I were childishly de- 
lighted with the Aden camel market and all 
the odd figures riding about on camels. We 
had only a few hours in which to amuse our- 
selves with these strange sights before the 
Kaiser set off again, and steamed away into 
the dreaded Red Sea. It was hotter in the 
Red Sea than any one belonging the ship 
had ever known it to be. One lived night 
and day in a sort of Turkish bath, there 
were no punkahs in the saloon, and I must 
say the food was hardly in keeping with the 
state of the atmosphere. I remember one 
stifling day the Captain, as he sat down to 
luncheon, announced that the glass was at 
no° in the saloon. Immediately afterwards 
an enormous dish of steaming sausages and 
sauerkraut was handed round, and some of 
the ship's officers actually helped themselves 
largely. Most of the English fled in despair, 
and collapsed on their deck chairs in a limper 
condition than before. It was at Aden that 


we heard of the loss of the Victoria ; and the 
Germans on board, some of whom were naval 
officers, spent their after-dinner leisure during 
the rest of the journey in manoeuvring ima- 
ginary fleets, made of little balls of bread, 
and explaining what the English officers 
ought to have done and didn't do. 

The only person of resource on board was 
Mr. Eugen Wolf, whom I have mentioned 
before. He had just returned from Uganda, 
from whence he had made a record march to 
the coast. We could not get him to talk 
about the Uganda question, however. All 
he would say was that Sir G. Portal was 
a "splendid fellow." Mr. Wolf is a bril- 
liant linguist, and spoke English remarkably 
well. He was more at home on board the 
Kaiser than the Captain, and whenever 
anything unusual was required, or anyone 
wanted help or advice, " Go to Mr. Wolf," 
was the cry. This tireless wanderer has 
bought a charming retreat at Taormina, and 
there he says he intends to settle down and 
end his days ; but at present he is far 


from the " settling-down " period, and very 
likely is even now starting off for the utter- 
most end of the earth. 

We steamed very slowly through the 
Suez Canal, and arrived late one evening at 
Port Said. We were to spend the night here 
coaling, so with one accord we all went on 
shore, the town being brightly lit up, and 
thronged with people. 

Here we possessed ourselves of some of 
the gold embroidery for which Port Said is 
famous, and ran in and out of the curious 
concert rooms and dancing halls which 
abound. The doctor of the Kaiser accom- 
panied us on this tour of inspection, and 
generally swept us out of these odd places of 
amusement almost as soon as we had entered 
them. I suppose a great deal of fighting 
goes on in them. The dancing halls seemed 
very dull. The audience sat drinking beer 
at little tables, whilst women in long flowing 
draperies glided about on a raised platform 
waving their arms, and looking like so many 


We left Port Said early the next morning, 
and after a four days' journey cast anchor at 

Those who have followed us in our 
wanderings can easily imagine with what 
joy and emotion we found ourselves once 
more in Europe. We both felt that we had 
hardly deserved such good fortune, and 
vowed that we would never leave it again. 
The Arabs, however, have a proverb which 
says : "He who has tasted of African water, 
must return to drink of it once more " ; and 
certainly there is a penetrating charm about 
the " Dark Continent " which must be felt, 
but cannot be described. So, in spite of all 
the joy of return, the warmth of home com- 
fort, the pleasure of familiar ways, I cannot 
feel at all certain that either of us has looked 
her last upon the Southern Cross. /> 


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